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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: December 3, 2020 04:51 PM
From: Senator Wayne D. Fontana
To: All Senate members
Subject: Genetic Information and Life Insurance
In 2008, the historic federal Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) was passed that prevents health insurers from accessing an individual’s genetic code and essentially prohibiting the discriminating against a person by refusing coverage on the basis of a congenital or predisposition health condition.  However, with a growing popularity of people wanting to know their genetic background through DNA sites such as 23andMe and AncestryDNA, the federal law does not go far enough in protecting this information.  Many life and long-term care insurance companies are now using these tests results to deny individuals coverage based on the possibility that they are at a greater risk for some illnesses and diseases because of their genetic makeup.   


I will soon be reintroducing SB 1284 from last session that would prohibit life and long-term care insurance companies from soliciting genetic information or using genetic test results to cancel, limit or deny coverage or to establish differential premium rates based on the results.  My bill will be modeled after a Florida bill which has taken a step further than the protections granted under federal GINA law.    


DNA testing kits can be a fun way for individuals and families to retrace their roots and history.  They can also be a useful tool for individuals looking to take various health precautions based off of their genetic background.  Nonetheless, these kits should not be used by the lucrative insurance industry as another means to deny someone coverage.  I hope you will consider joining me with this measure.   

Introduced as SB125