Do out-of-pocket genetic tests work against health care system?

Health insurance companies usually cover certain genetic testing as part of treatment (though they often pay little, if anything, for genetic counseling that is involved); and the results then enter the patient’s medical chart. But many people undergo genetic testing on their own and pay out of pocket, allowing them to keep the result to themselves.

The Affordable Care Act covers certain genetic tests, such as those for breast cancer that can lead to clear benefits for the patient; but not for other tests, such as that for Alzheimer’s disease.

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) covers most forms of health insurance and employment. But it’s a different story with other types of insurance. Life, disability and long-term care insurance companies are legally allowed to discriminate based on people’s genes.

These types of insurance are essentially shared goods and, ideally, based on principles of fairness. None of us know if or when we are going to need them — get an awful debilitating disease and/or die at a relatively young age. So, in buying insurance, we hedge our bets. We each put in a certain amount of money. Those of us who, unfortunately, become disabled, need long term care or die young, benefit — it could be you, me or neither of us. None of us have strong data in advance to know one way or the other.

Unless perhaps you secretly undergo genetic testing.

Read full, original article: Get genetic testing and cheat the system?

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