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Genetic discrimination in private insurance: global perspectives

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In an era of personalized medicine rife with population databases and international consortia, genetic discrimination is once again moving to the forefront of the genetics policy debate. In North America and Europe, many countries have taken a political stance on the use of predictive genetic information by insurers. Asia is also becoming more conscious of the challenge raised by genetic discrimination. In this paper, we present data on the different policy options adopted to resolve the genetic and insurance dilemma in 47 different countries located in four world regions. Approaches varied according to legal traditions, the role insurance plays in each state, and the interplay between private and public health care systems. We conclude that a truly informed international debate on genetic discrimination in insurance should properly account for the limits of genetic predictive information and the social value of health and life insurance as perceived by the public.
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Keywords: genetic discrimination; genetic exceptionalism; health insurance; life insurance

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Centre of Genomics and Policy Faculty of Medicine, Department of Human Genetics, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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