In the U.S., majority of the health insurance companies have put down severe requirements concerning the health records of insurers where they demand to be informed of someone’s health status and even request for a genetic screening to ascertain the health status. A genetic screening id described by the insurance industries as a laboratory examination of an individual’s chromosomes or genes for deficiencies, defects, or abnormalities, as well as carrier condition, that are associated to impairments, or mental/physical disorders, or that designate vulnerability to disease, illness or other disorder, be it mental or physical, which check is a straight one and not an oblique demonstration of genetic disorders. The insurance companies then exploit this provision by the health sector for their selfish gains of hiking premiums to those clients diagnosed with terminal disorders (Norrgard, p.1).
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Genetic screening has known benefits predominantly to the tested person as he/she becomes aware of their health status but the most controversies come up where the genetic testing issue and insurance matters overlap. The insurers perceive genetic checks as an immense prospective enhancement in their risk evaluation methods, whilst populace who has been tested affirmative for a genetic situation protest that they have been deprived of complete life assurance, health insurance, and yet car insurance due to their status (Kjono).
The argument passed across by Meghan Sheehan concerning the insurance industry is quite true where she compares them with evil beasts who keep applying their authority of being insurance companies to harm the common citizen. There is really no justification for these companies to demand genetic testing to all of their potential customers because the information or rather health records of patients are supposed to be confidential between the client and the physician and in 2003 a law was enacted called The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) which set a general standard for confidentiality of health information. Therefore it beats logic for third partisans to demand to know their client’s health record together with genetic testing (Medical Records Privacy).
The genetic screening process by the insurers eventually creates a genetic underclass of people who are actually incapable of obtaining insurance due to their known health status. This insurance discrimination is costing the country a lot in terms of people dying in health facilities or in their residential areas since they are unable to be treated in hospitals due to lack of insurance cover. Therefore directly or indirectly the insurance industry should be held responsible for not covering that citizen simply because of their health status (ACOG - Ethical Issues in Genetic Testing).
It is interestingly how insurance companies argue out that since they maybe are the one responsible for paying for your genetic screening; that they are supposed to be informed or rather forwarded the testing results. How is that sensible really? They are actually using their power to force people reveal their health records and thereafter use them to decide the premium to be charged to them, of which it is quite exploitative of them to do so (Kjono).
Insurance is founded on the harmonizing principles of equity and solidarity in the features of tentative risks. Thus it is reasonable for the insurance companies to provide a fair service to all citizens no matter their health status but that is not the case as they use the genetic tests to probably deny many people of the vital life and health insurance covers. The rejection of insurance covers by these companies brings out the conventional case of genetic discrimination. Discrimination as a result of one’s genetic composition has been criticized by many scholars and health activists as this mannerism leaves over millions of citizens with no protection in terms of insurance covers and this cause an amplified load on the by now flooded health assistance programs (Norrgard, p.1).
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) was enacted to prevent genetic discrimination; however its objectives fell short. Particularly, in HIPAA, the insurance companies weren’t prohibited from charging elevated rates to clients based on their genetic information, and also they were not prevented from gathering genetic records or obliging applicants to go through genetic testing. Thereafter in 2008 a more inclusive federal acts, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), was implemented and gave the Americans much security on their health records and genetic screening. These companies nonetheless oversee these Acts and inquire customers to undergo genetic testing (Medical Records Privacy).
These records once in the hands of third parties become extremely volatile to be leaked and land to other people like employers. This creates social stigmatization to the individuals as well as their families due to the results of genetic examinations. Also employers once they acquire these health records could decline employment to persons that are at danger for assured diseases. This clearly shows the negative impact of genetic tests especially when done under the consent of the insurers as there tend to open many loop holes and misuse of power by them.
Therefore it’s my take that the decision to undertake genetic screening ought to be left to the individual and not on insurers. An individual’s resolution depends on a variety of factors, which include the perceived treatability and preventability of the disorder as well as one's capacity to make positive life transformations with the data one gets from testing. Exposure to such information creates a high potential for exploitation and genetic discrimination by the insurance companies thus should be done away with (ACOG - Ethical Issues in Genetic Testing).
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