May 16th, 2019

Few things in life are more unfair than genetics. We're all born with a unique code that can include good things - the family nose, perhaps, and bad things like potential health conditions. Increasingly geneticists are discovering genetic links to ailments and with the advent of services like 23 and me, there is an increase in interest in genetics in general.

Long-term care insurers base coverage decisions on things like medical records and health habits.  But, according to a recent article on Bloomberg Law there is a chance that LTC insurers can also judge potential applicants on genetics as well. 

In 2008, Congress passed the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 and George Bush signed it.  The bill was intentionally set up to not apply to life and long-term care insurance according to one member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors

According to this source, lawmakers were unable to come to an agreement that would be broader and include these types of insurance.  There’s a powerful lobby in Washington of Life Insurers and a fair-minded reader can probably connect the dots.

Arizona is one of 14 states that extends the “GINA” protections beyond just health coverage (which is nationwide).  There is surprisingly little on the Web about the specifics of Arizona’s coverage but one law firm does mention that GINA in Arizona is extended to employers. 

A.R.S. § 41-1463(B)(3) states that it shall be unlawful for an employer to “fail or refuse to hire, to discharge, or to otherwise discriminate against any individual based on the results of a genetic test received by the employer.”

So, long-term care applicants in Arizona and many other states are on notice: genetics can potentially play a result in your LTC underwriting decision.  As agents, we’ve never seen nor heard hint of this occurring, but pouring over the laws it seems possible.  According to the Council for Responsible Generics, Arizona also extends a prohibition of genetic discrimination to Disability Insurance without actuarial justification.

If you’re navigating this space and looking to get comparison quotes from the top ten companies in Arizona, feel free to request a quote right here on our site.  Our state-licensed agents are able to discuss underwriting in much greater detail.  We can help you determine how all of this applies to your individual case, and what the best path forward may be.

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