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Genetic Discrimination

In May 2008, the long-awaited Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) was signed into law. This federal legislation is the first law of its kind to provide broad protection against genetic discrimination in group and individual health insurance and employment. It is also the first federal law to outline processes for filing claims and seeking justice for individuals who have experienced genetic discrimination.

GINA specifically prohibits issuers of health insurance (including group, individual and Medicare supplement policies) from using genetic information to: 1) establish eligibility, contribution amounts and premium fees, 2) specify the conditions of the policy, and 3) impose a preexisting condition exclusion.

GINA specifically prohibits employers, labor organizations, employment agencies and joint labor-management committees from using genetic information to: 1) fire or refuse to hire an employee, 2) discriminate against an employee with respect to compensation, promotions, or terms, conditions or privileges of employment, 3) treat employees differently in admission to apprenticeships, training or retraining programs.

GINA also specifically prohibits employers and health insurers from requesting, requiring, disclosing or purchasing the results of a genetic test or genetic information.

While GINA is the most comprehensive law of its kind, it is important to note that it does not apply to members of the US military, veterans obtaining healthcare through Veteran’s Administration, or the Indian Health Service. It does not prohibit insurers from using current health status to determine coverage or premiums. It also does not address life insurance, disability insurance, or long-term-care insurance.

For more information about GINA or genetic discrimination, please see the following resources:

This website hosted by the Coalition for Genetic Fairness provides an overview of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA):

Read about what is and is not covered under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) here:

Complete text of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) bill (H.R. 493):