AMA proposes total ban on use of genetic test results in life insurance underwriting

Genetic testing's impacts on Australians highlighted

AMA proposes total ban on use of genetic test results in life insurance underwriting

Life & Health

By Roxanne Libatique

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) is calling for a total ban on life insurers using genetic test results in their underwriting processes.

Its push is part of a broader discussion on the impact of genetic testing on life insurance practices in the country.

Impacts of genetic testing

The AMA’s submission to the Australian Treasury addressed concerns over genetic discrimination, highlighting how such practices can dissuade individuals from participating in genetic testing and genomic research. These activities are crucial for advancing healthcare by identifying early treatment options that could potentially save lives, it said.

One notable aspect of the AMA’s submission is the emphasis on the negative implications of fear among consumers. The concern that undergoing genetic testing could lead to being denied insurance coverage is a significant deterrent, it said, despite the potential health benefits and advancements in care that such testing offers.

Life insurers welcome genetic test result ban

Amid these discussions, the Council of Australian Life Insurers (CALI), representing 19 member companies, has also expressed support for a ban on using genetic test results in insurance underwriting.

CALI highlighted the importance of federal intervention to prevent Australians from being dissuaded from genetic testing, which is increasingly seen as a vital tool for managing personal health.

CALI CEO Christine Cupitt underscored the urgency of adopting regulatory measures.

“With genetic testing becoming more prevalent in the community, now is the time for Federal Government regulation to ensure that no Australian is deterred from taking a genetic test to proactively manage their health,” she said in a recent statement. “It has never been the intention of the life insurance industry to deter people from taking genetic tests that give them more information about their overall health.

“Australia’s life insurers have never, and would never, require someone to take a genetic test for the purposes of underwriting.”

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