Genetics and Personal Insurance: the Perspectives of Canadian Cancer Genetic Counselors
Lane, M., Ngueng Feze, I., Joly, Y., “Genetics and Personal Insurance: the Perspectives of Canadian Cancer Genetic Counselors” 24:6 (2015) Journal of GeneticCounseling 1022-1036.
Genetic discrimination in the context of genetic testing has been identified as a concern for symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals for more than three decades. Genetic counselors are often the health care professionals who discuss risks and benefits of genetic testing with patients, thereby making them most appropriate to address patient concerns about genetics and personal insurance (i.e., life, life as related to mortgage or group insurance, disability, critical illness and travel). A pilot study was conducted to ascertain the current practices of Canadian cancer genetic counselors in regard to their discussions with patients about genetic testing and access to personal insurance. Among the 36 counselors surveyed, 100 % reported discussing the issue of genetic testing and personal insurance with their patients. Several factors influenced the content, depth and length of these discussions including age, cancer status, family members, and patients’ current and future insurance needs. Counselors reported discussing with patients the possible impact of genetic test results on access to personal insurance, possible access and use of patient genetic information by insurance companies, and whom patients should contact if they have additional questions. The most commonly reported inquiries from patients included questions about the possible impact of genetic testing on their ability to obtain insurance, and the insurability of family members. While 28 % of counselors reported having been contacted by an insurer requesting access to patient information, only one counselor was aware of or could recall the outcome of such a request. This pilot study revealed that issues concerning genetics and personal insurance are commonly discussed in Canadian cancer genetic counseling sessions. Counselors furthermore expressed a need for additional educational resources on the topic of genetics and personal insurance for themselves and their patients.
This content has been updated on January, 8 2016 at 15 h 57 min.