Can the results of direct-to-consumer genetic testing affect my ability to get insurance?

Passed in 2008, a federal law called the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) made it illegal for health insurance providers in the United States to use genetic information in decisions about a person's health insurance eligibility or coverage. This means that health insurance companies cannot use the results of a direct-to-consumer genetic test (or any other genetic test) to deny coverage or require you to pay higher premiums. However, GINA does not apply when an employer has fewer than 15 employees, and it does not cover people in the U.S. military or those receiving health benefits through the Veterans Health Administration or Indian Health Service.

GINA does not apply to other forms of insurance, such as disability insurance, long-term care insurance, or life insurance. Companies that offer these policies have the right to request medical information, including the results of any genetic testing, when making decisions about coverage and rates. Some of these companies request information about genetic testing as part of their application process, but others do not. It is unclear whether genetic information, including the results of direct-to-consumer genetic testing, will become a standard part of the risk assessment that insurance companies undertake when making coverage decisions.

You should weigh the possible benefits and risks of direct-to-consumer genetic testing, including potential impacts on insurance eligibility and coverage, before you start the testing process.