Insurers continue to safeguard cover for those taking predictive genetic tests

Published on Wednesday, 27 June 2012 09:54
Posted by Vicki Mitchem

Thousands of people who have genetic tests for conditions such as Alzheimers and cancer will continue to benefit when taking out insurance thanks to an extended agreement announced today by Public Health Minister Anne Milton.

The agreement with the Association of British Insurers (ABI), the Concordat and Moratorium on Genetics and Insurance, continues to guarantee that anyone who has had a predictive test to assess their susceptibility to genetic conditions, such as breast and ovarian cancer, can take out significant insurance cover without disclosing the results.

The agreement has been extended to 2017 and sets out that all future reviews of the agreement will take place three years before the provisional end date. This will give consumers enough time to prepare if there are any changes. The agreement has also been simplified to make it easier to understand. The next planned review will be held in 2014.

Public Health Minister Anne Milton said:

“This is an excellent agreement that has benefited many consumers. The extension and strengthening of it will make sure that the public continue to have the confidence to use predictive genetic tests whilst being reassured that they can still get insurance."

Stephen Gay, Director of Life, Savings and Protection at the ABI said:

“The agreement on genetics and insurance has provided a lot of reassurance for people since its introduction. This is the second time it has been reviewed and extended, which means people will continue to be able to take out very sizeable amounts of insurance without having to disclose predictive genetic test results.”

If a 30 year old woman has a mother who has breast cancer, she may wish to take a predictive genetic test to find out whether she is at risk. Under the current agreement, she can continue to take out significant levels of insurance without having to tell her insurers, but may prefer not to take a predictive genetic test in case the agreement ends and she is required to disclose results for future insurance cover. 
Under the new agreement, because reviews are conducted three years before the scheduled end date, she will have enough time to secure cover before any changes to the agreement are in place, without having to disclose test results. Once insurance cover is in place there is no obligation to disclose any further medical information or results.

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