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Taking At-Home Genetic Tests Can Make Your Health Insurance More Expensive


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At-home genetic tests like 23andMe, Helix, and more are popping up as a fun way to learn about your family history, sleep habits and even hair type. But taking the tests can lead to higher insurance rates later in life. (Related: 5 "Shape" Editors Took 23andMe DNA Tests and This Is What They Learned)

While the federal Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act stops insurers from using or requiring people to disclose any information learned from at-home genetic test kits before offering or deciding the cost of health insurance, that rule does not apply for long-term insurance policies, Kaiser Health Network reports.

When it comes time to sign up for long-term care policies, life insurance or disability insurance, insurers can go through medical records and ask about both you and your family’s health history. That means the fun (or not-so-fun) information that came out of taking a genetic test kit should be part of the insurance process and can lead to higher rates. (Related: Study Finds Major Problem with At-Home Genetic Tests)

So if you learn that there’s a history of heart disease in the family after taking an at-home test, you’re obligated to let insurers know.

On the bright side, if you take any test after you already have an insurance plan in place, it won’t mean higher rates. (Related: This Company Offers Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer at Home)

“Once the policy has been underwritten and issued, the insurer doesn’t revoke the policy if new medical information comes to light,” Catherine Theroux, a spokeswoman for LIMRA, an insurance industry trade group, told KHN.

This story originally appeared on by Julie Mazziotta.


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