House panel passes bill prohibiting insurance companies from using genetic information to deny or cancel policies

House panel passes bill prohibiting insurance companies from using genetic information to deny or cancel policies

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - A Florida House panel passed a bill on Thursday that would prohibit insurance companies from using customers’ genetic information to deny or cancel policies.

Companies would also not be allowed to use the information to set premiums.

Federal law already prevents health insurers from using genetic information in underwriting policies, but the prohibition doesn’t apply to life insurance or long-term care coverage.

House Bill sponsor, State Representative Chris Sprowls, calls that a massive loophole. He worries insurers may try to use the information in the future as the popularity of genetic tests such as 23ANDME continues to grow.

“They intend to do it in the future, and that’s why you have seen such stark opposition from them because they would like to do it. I think it is inappropriate, and I think the quicker we can get ahead of it so it doesn’t happen and isn’t an issue for consumers, and prevent the problem, it’s our moral obligation,” Sprowls said.

If passed, Florida would become the first state to have such a law. While the House Commerce Committee passed the bill unanimously, the Senate has yet to consider the companion measure.

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