Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Robyn Ward, an eminent Australian geneticist at the University of New South Wales, is slamming the life insurance industry for their continued practice of discriminating against people with genetic predispositions to diseases like cancer.
Her comments follow a recent Medical Journal of Australia article reporting the story of a young Brisbane father with a genetic predisposition to colorectal cancer. The father approached the insurance arms of the four major Australian banks and was denied each time for his predisposition. He received insurance from one company after going to the Australian Human Rights Commission and claiming discrimination.
In Australia, health insurers cannot use an applicant’s genetic information in assessments, but life insurance companies can. Ward believes this discrimination could dissuade patients from getting tested for their diseases, thus decreasing preventative measures.
See Chris Johnston, Life Insurers Slammed for Treating Genes as Destiny, The Canberra Times, Sept. 2, 2013.
Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.