A Florida bill that would prohibit insurers from using customers’ genetic information in changing, denying or canceling policies cleared another Senate committee.
The bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee by a 6-0 vote Tuesday, the second of three committees to get the legislation. The Senate Rules Committee has yet to vote, according to the Florida Senate bill tracker.
The Florida House of Representatives passed a similar bill Jan. 29. Sen. Kelli Stargel, R, sponsored a Senate bill and made one significant change: to allow insurers to use genetic information included in a consumer's medical record.
"Insurers may use genetic information for underwriting purposes only if (1) genetic information is contained in the medical record, (2) the use of any genetic testing results is limited to what is in the medical record, (3) the genetic information is relevant to a potential medical condition that impacts mortality or morbidity risk, and (4) the genetic information is related to expected mortality or morbidity based on sound actuarial principles or reasonably expected experience."
State and federal law already prevent health insurance companies from considering a person’s genetic information when deciding if and at what price to cover that consumer. The Florida legislation would extend that ban to life, disability and long-term care insurers.
If passed by both houses, a Florida bill along these lines would become the latest of several states, including California, Vermont, and Maine, to restrict the use of genetic information by life insurers.
"The Senate bill provides more clarity as to what are considered permitted or prohibited actions relating to genetic information," wrote Faegre Drinker authors Josephine Cicchetti and Gail J. Kamal. "Some critics of the bill (particularly the House version) view it as too broad and prohibitive, which could lead to disruption in the market and higher prices for consumers."
Several insurance industry representatives have testified against the bill.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Editor John Hilton has covered business and other beats in more than 20 years of daily journalism. John may be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @INNJohnH.