Thursday, November 13, 2008

News You Can Use: DOL taking comments on GINA

The Department of Labor this week called for comments on the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), which amends the tax code, ERISA and several other employment laws to prohibit health coverage discrimination based on genetic information.

The request seeks opinions on several aspects of GINA, including:
* To what extent do group health plans and health insurance issuers currently use genetic information, such as family medical history, and for what purposes? For example, is genetic information currently used for group rating purposes, or for purposes of a wellness program that otherwise complies with HIPAA's nondiscrimination requirements?
* How do plans and issuers currently obtain genetic information (for example, through health risk assessments, the Medical Information Bureau, or other entities under common control)?
* Under what circumstances do plans or issuers currently ask for the results of a genetic test in order to make a determination regarding payment of benefits? What is the minimum amount of information necessary for a plan or issuer to make a determination under such circumstances?
* What terms or provisions (such as genetic information, genetic test, genetic services, or underwriting) would require additional clarification to facilitate compliance? What specific clarifications would be helpful?

Submit comments at or Comments will be accepted until Dec. 9.

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