What’s the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)?

By hrlineup | 02.01.2020

There are people in our country who believe that they could be discriminated against based on their genetics if they took part in research or undertook a genetic testing. This is all not true, thanks to The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), the law that was set in 2008 and one that protects Americans from being discriminated against based on their genetic information. The law particularly protects Americans from discrimination in employment and health insurance

Genetic information discrimination can be said to occur if a person is treated differently by their insurance company or employer because they have a gene mutation believed to cause increased risks of inherited disorders. Any kind of discrimination is usually against the law and many people live in fear of being discriminated against and this could affect the way people volunteer for genetic testing. Genetic information is vital in finding out how certain diseases or disorders manifests in families. Sometimes genetic testing is important to help a person understand the health conditions that run in their family and their risks in developing certain conditions.

The gena law prohibits insurance companies from discriminating people based on their genetic information. With this law in place, insurance companies will not be allowed to use genetic information to check out whether a certain person is eligible for insurance coverage or not. They cannot also use such information to determine the amount of premium a person should pay for a certain insurance cover among other vital decisions such companies make every day. Again, insurance companies are not allowed by the law to request or require their clients to undergo genetic testing just so they can acquire some vital genetic information that could help them make better decisions.

Similarly, genetic information nondiscrimination act is implemented by the Commission for Equal Employment to prevent employers from using genetic information to make employment decisions such as firing, hiring, pay, job assignments and promotions. Every covered entity including employers, labor organizations, apprenticeship programs, joint labor-management training programs and employment agencies are not allowed to use genetic information as a condition for employment or enrollment.

However, genetic information nondiscrimination act of 2008 does not cover employers with less than 15 employees and will not cover people who have several types of military and federal insurance. Again, this law does not apply to life insurance, long-term care insurance or disability insurance. There are additional policies and laws beyond GINA, which offers similar protection against genetic discrimination.

Genetic discrimination, just like every other discrimination can deny a person a chance to enjoy equal employment benefits among other things. Good thing is that GINA is here to offer the much needed protection for people who have undergone genetic testing to ensure that their test results are not used to deny them the opportunities to work or better insurance terms. For people who participate in research studies, there is no need to worry that your information could be used against you at any given time.