Genetic Testing Pushes Buttons
July 1, 1998
As more employers consider the use of genetic testing, HR professionals should expect a variety of reactions-from fear to distrust and anger. Below are some common perceptions and concerns about genetic testing that were revealed in a study of 332 members of genetic support groups (all of whom had one or more of 101 different genetic disorders).
- Individuals who say they were asked about genetic diseases or disabilities on an application for health insurance: 40%
- People who claim they or a family member were refused health insurance as a result of a genetic condition in their family: 22%
- People who say they wouldn't want their insurer to know if they were tested and found to be at high risk of a genetic disorder: 83%
- Adults with a life insurance policy in the United States: 70%
- Those paying higher-than-standard premiums on a life insurance policy: 5%
- Individuals who claim they or a family member were denied a job or "let go" because of a genetic condition in the family: 13%
- People who say they were asked about genetic diseases or disabilities on a job application: 7%
- Those claiming they were denied or "let go" from a job due to genetic information: 3%
- Those who say they haven't revealed genetic information to their employers for fear of losing their jobs or insurance coverage: 17%
- Those refusing a genetic test for fear of discrimination: 9%
- Respondents claiming they've been genetically discriminated against: 43%
- Individuals who were asked about genetic diseases or disabilities on an application and then refused health insurance: 47%
SOURCE: Human Genome Education Model Project of the Georgetown University Child Development Center and the Alliance of Genetic Support Groups, 1996.