Genomics is at the forefront of a technological revolution in biomedicine and healthcare through which personalised treatment is fast becoming a reality. Genomics will improve care across a range of health problems and allow more targeted therapy. If insurance is indeed a pool into which participants pay sufficient to cover their risk, shouldn’t insurers have access to this genomic knowledge to use in equitable ways to benefit customers?
It used to be impossible to price insurance based on your particular lifestyle, health or habits — but technology has given us the solution, at least for car insurance. How long before health and life insurance follow? The day is coming when the guesswork involved in evaluating factors regarding a consumer’s specific health risk is virtually eliminated.
Technological advances now mean that a human genome can be sequenced for US$4,500 in just a few days. The robust nature of DNA, its ease of collection and portability, has led to the creation of mail-order genetic test services that often have no physician involvement.
The aims of this brochure are to provide the reader with a simple introduction to genes and genetic processes in humans and an insight as to how this rapidly developing field of science could impact on the insurance industry.
Genetic testing: it’s the crystal ball of health predictions. Are you more likely to develop cancer, Alzheimer’s or Huntington’s disease later in life? With a few strokes of a cotton swab, you can have that information. And life insurers argue they should have it, too.
Despite the poor predictive value of direct to consumer genetic tests in identifying the risk of common diseases, a possible impact on insurers of wider public access may be that privately obtained test results are used by some applicants to their benefit.
LifeHealthPro.com recently ran an article about new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) final regulations that will let insurers continue to use genetic information in underwriting long-term care insurance (LTCI), for now.