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An Ancestry Test Could Make It Harder to Buy Life Insurance

The Federal Trade Commission has issued a warning that genetic testing kits do more than reveal a person's ancestry and "can disclose the biological building blocks that make you, you."...
January 24, 2018

The Federal Trade Commission has issued a warning that genetic testing kits do more than reveal a person's ancestry and "can disclose the biological building blocks that make you, you." Federal regulators and consumer advocates are now warning that these home DNA tests could make it harder for people to buy life insurance, as they could determine if a person's raw DNA data contains a marker for a serious illness.

According to the California Department of Insurance, health insurers may not sue or consider genetic test results when selling a policy, but life insurers can legally ask customers if they have ever taken a DNA test and request the results. If the consumer lies or refuses to hand over the data, companies can terminate their policy or refuse to sell them one. California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones says, “Consumers need to think carefully about whether they want to take these tests. It will not impact their health insurance under current law, but it could impact their life insurance.”

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