Insurance and genetic testing: Where are we now?

H. Ostrer, W. Allen, L. A. Crandall, R. E. Moseley, M. A. Dewar, D. Nye, S. Van McCrary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Basic research will spur development of genetic tests that are capable of presymptomatic prediction of disease, disability, and premature death in presently asymptomatic individuals. Concerns have been expressed about potential harms related to the use of genetic test results, especially loss of confidentiality, eugenics, and discrimination. Existing laws and administrative policies may not be sufficient to assure that genetic information is used fairly. To provide factual information and conceptual principles upon which sound social policy can be based, the Human Genome Initiative established an Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues Program. Among the first areas to be identified as a priority for study was insurance. This paper provides a review of life, health, and disability insurance systems, including basic principles, risk classification, and market and regulatory issues, and examines the potential impact of genetic information on the insurance industry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)565-577
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Human Genetics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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