Problem

Denial of health insurance to genetic groups

Other Names:
Restriction of medical benefits to ethnic groups
Refusal of life insurance to genetic groups
Nature:
By genetic test it is now possible to know one's chances of dying prematurely of a rare hereditary disease, or one's chance of producing offspring with a hereditary disability. Health and life insurance companies wish to obtain this information about their clients, because it will help them to evaluate the risks a particular client poses, and to set premiums accordingly. As life insurance is obligatory in many countries to obtain a mortgage, refusal to provide life insurance can prevent one from buying a house.

Currently 95% of insurance policies in the UK are obtained on a standard rate and less than one percent are declined due to mortality risks. As genetic tests increase in number and ease, so could conditional testing and policy costs for insurance.

In 1997, a British group of insurers stated that genetic testing results could not be withheld from insurers, but that the information provided would not affect the premiums on mortgages for the cheapest houses. In Germany, genetic testing for insurance purposes is forbidden. In the Netherlands, life insurers have agreed to exclude certain genetic information from their premium calculations.

Problem Type:
G: Very specific problems
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 1: No PovertyGOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
Date of last update
09.06.1999 – 00:00 CEST