Genetic Discrimination the Cause of Insurance Refusals in Australia

The first proven case of genetic discrimination has resulted in some Australians being refused various forms of health insurance protection. According to a recent study conducted by the Centre for Genetics Education at Royal North Shore Hospital, patients with supposed faulty genetic makeup have been having difficulty securing policies.

The Problem with Genetic Discrimination for Insurance

According to the Centres survey, out of 1,000 people surveyed, 11 cases were verified to be affected by genetic discrimination. Prior to this survey and a subsequent paper publishing the results in the journal Genetics in Medicine there was doubt that the phenomenon actually existed. However, after showing that two women with the same genetic fault that was linked to breast cancer both applied for income protection and were declined in some fashion (one was denied any coverage while the other was offered protection that excluded breast cancer), any doubt was trumped by fact.

The Solution to Denied Insurance Coverage

At present moment, there appears to be no solution to being denied health insurance coverage as the Insurance and Financial Services Association believes the decisions were justified on the grounds of updated scientific information. However, the director of the Centre feels that the insured should not be penalized with a lack of insurance while the companies are trying to learn just how to apply their new scientific methods. The director believes that an assessment panel being established to advise which tests are well-understood and should be used for insurance purposes is a step in the right direction.

According to the Centre, there is no definite resolve for the insured as of yet. However, they can benefit from the fact that industry guidelines don’t permit insurers to force a genetic test, which for now can prevent them from discrimination.