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Senate Passes Ban on Genetic Discrimination

April 24, 2008
Related Topics: Future Workplace, Benefit Design and Communication, Discrimination and EEOC Compliance, Latest News
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The Senate voted Thursday, April 24, to ban insurers and others from basing health care coverage on genetic information.

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, S. 358, prohibits group health plans or issuers of individual health care policies from basing eligibility determinations or adjusting premiums or contributions on the basis of genetic information. The measure bans health plans and insurers from requesting, requiring or purchasing the results of genetic tests and from disclosing genetic information.

The bill prohibits employers from firing, refusing to hire or otherwise discriminating against workers with respect to compensation and other terms of employment on the basis of genetic information. Like insurers, employers are banned from requesting, requiring or buying genetic information.

The House, which passed its own version of the bill last year, is expected to take up “identical language in the very near future,” according to a statement issued by the bill’s Senate sponsors on Thursday. President Bush has indicated he will sign the bill.

Filed by Mark A. Hofmann of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail editors@workforce.com.

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