December 15, 2009

The Risks of Genetic Information



In the future, when getting access to your full genetic code in order to determine the likelihood of inheriting certain diseases becomes cost-accessible for the majority of the populace, will group insurance be gone?

The original idea of group insurance was to mitigate the risk of costly illnesses by spreading out the costs among a large group of people.

But as our knowledge of risk becomes increasingly more aware, won't the benefits of willing group insurance become less attractive for the statistically healthy?

3 comments:

sc said...

the problem with genetic coding is that it only assesses 'potential' risk and not absolutes. if genetics did not just predispose but made people have certain issues then the answer to your question would be yes. however, potentials or predispositions would only cause to higher premiums for those with the toliet bowl of genetics vs. the healthy.

so i guess if it is genetics that would determine this what about accidental injury to the healthy? That is the reason I have insurance, low premium high deductible should be the answer for the healthy NOW and not in the future, so you cover your rear with the big costs but don't waste money on things you will not use.

Eric Olsen said...

supposedly, that's what health insurance used to be back in the days. you covered doctor's visits and small stuff yourself. insurance was for a diabetes surprise or other catastrophe.

but, you know private providers are going to start making you take that test before they cover you, so what are cancer-subsceptible people going to do? (insert public option argument...)

Meghan said...

I'm not sure if this is a reason to lean toward government health care, because you are absolutely right, health insurance companies will use any excuse to deny people coverage (ever seen "Sicko"?) If they find out that you have a predisposition to cancer, that might be considered a "preexisting condition" - especially if ANY of your lifestyle choice exacerbated the illness. I think it could strongly impact life insurance as well, which is unfortunate because, as sc above said, genetics is all about predispositions but no absolutes, and there's always the unknown - i.e. accidents. But life insurance companies already do this stuff assessing risks, so if they had your genetic code in hand, think of the power they will hold...it's scary! (P.S. in case it's not obvious, I don't want anyone, including myself, to know about my DNA)