The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) is a federal law that protects Americans from discrimination by health insurance companies and employers based on their genetic information. This law does not cover life insurance, disability insurance or long-term care insurance.
Key points of this act include the following:
Health Insurance Protections
Health insurance companies may not use genetic information either collected with intent, or incidentally, to make eligibility, coverage, underwriting, or premium-setting decisions.
GINA does not cover a disease that has already been diagnosed; it only protects an individual’s predictive genetic information. For example, an individual can be denied coverage based on their existing cardiomyopathy diagnosis but not on the results of a genetic test that confirms their disease.
GINA protects the family members of the diagnosed individual from denial of coverage based on the individual’s symptoms or results of a genetic test that confirms the disease. For example, the diagnosed individual’s sibling or child cannot be denied coverage.
The health insurance provisions of GINA do not apply to:
An employer may not use genetic information in making decisions regarding hiring, firing, job assignments or promotions. They may not request, require or purchase genetic information about an employee or family member.