Life insurers can charge more or decline cover based on your genetic test results. New laws must change this

Source: The Conversation, September 2023

Genetic tests can provide life-saving information. They can help diagnose disease, enable access to preventive care, prompt early screening and treatment, and guide patients’ therapeutic options.

In Australia, life insurance companies can legally use the results of genetic tests to discriminate. They can decline to provide life insurance coverage, increase the cost of premiums, or place exclusions on an individual’s cover. This is known as “genetic discrimination”.

This week, a number of federal parliamentarians argued for a ban on genetic discrimination by life insurance companies. This follows recommendations from our research team for legislative reform so Australians don’t forego important genetic tests for fear of this discrimination.