Your genes or your life

Insurance companies in the United Kingdom may now legally deny health coverage or raise premiums for prospective clients who have tested positive for certain hereditary diseases, according to the BBC.

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The catch is, the insurers cannot force applicants to take such a test, nor can they force the disclosure of any past genetic test results. But critics say that won’t necessarily protect anyone.

Those with family histories of genetic disease who have not been tested may also be rejected for insurance or subjected to higher premium because of a perceived risk. Privacy and healthcare advocates say the practice is discriminatory and will essentially effect only the healthcare of those at greatest risk.