Gov. DeSantis to decide whether to expand DNA protections from insurers – Florida Politics

Posted: June 18, 2020 at 7:57 am

Federal and state law already prevents health insurers from using DNA data to influence their coverage. But Florida lawmakers want to expand that privacy to life, disability and long-term care insurance.

With that bill (HB 1189) now on his desk, Gov. Ron DeSantiswill offer the final say on whether the Sunshine State will become the first state to bar those insurance companies from using genetic tests like 23andMe for coverage purposes. And because incoming House SpeakerChris Sprowls spearheaded the effort, the Governor isnt likely to take out his veto pen.

Sprowls said he discovered the issue in December 2017 when he was applying for life insurance. While he was on hold on the telephone waiting for assistance, he said he was struck by commercials from companies such as 23andMe and AncestryDNA encouraging people to buy genetic tests.

Insurers have noted that information gleaned from genetic testing, such as a persons medical predispositions, could be used to lower insurance premiums across the board. But while it hasnt happened yet, that would punish genetic losers who would see a premium hike, lawmakers said.

The Senate approved the bill 35-3 with Democratic Sen. Kevin Raderand Republican Sens.Jeff BrandesandJoe Grutersdissenting. The amended proposal, which outlined that insurers could use genetic information if it came from a medical diagnosis, passed the House unanimously.

Dr.Robert Gleeson, a medical consultant for the American Council of Life Insurers, hasopposed the bill in past years.

Sen.Kelli Stargel led the Senate effort.

While countless Floridians have used DNA testing kits to learn more about their background or identify potential health risks, they didnt sign up in order for insurers to access this personal information and then base their policies on it, Stargel said in a prepared statement at the bills passage. We are elected to protect Floridians, and this good public policy protects them from insurers invading their private personal DNA data and using it against them.

DeSantis has until June 30 to veto the bill before it goes into effect July 1.

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Gov. DeSantis to decide whether to expand DNA protections from insurers - Florida Politics

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