If you have not had a genetic test completed you should consider holding off until you have a policy in force with one of the premier life insurance companies or best no medical exam companies. Once your policy is secure then feel free to take genetic tests every day. However, you could potentially jeopardize your approval if you jump the gun and get this done prior to locking into coverage. Give us a call today to see just what we can do for you!
Genetic Testing Could Ruin Your Chances to Qualify for Life Insurance.
Before we dive right into the whole topic of genetic testing and life insurance it’s important to realize one thing—insurance companies are generally very good at what they do.
After all, just think about how much money it must cost to literally run thousands upon thousands of TV and radio ads each and every day.
“Did you know that 15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance?”
Of course you did, but that’s because you’ve had a computer generated lizard tell you this at least 5 times a day for the past 10 years!!!!
So the obvious question becomes:
“Why are insurance companies so profitable?”
Insurance companies are extremely profitable because the really good at doing one thing, minimizing their own potential risk.
Insurance companies accomplish this by utilizing many different underwriting tools and techniques to help “weed out” the “bad” or “risky” applications and better identify the “good” or more “profitable” applications.
Tools such as:
- A medical exam, which will typically include a blood and urine sample.
- A prescription database check, which will determine what medications you’re currently taking as well as what medications you’ve been prescribed in the past.
- Access to your medical records.
- A motor vehicle report.
- A credit report.
And if you’ve taken a genetic profile exam, the insurance companies will have access to that as well!
Genetic Testing and Life Insurance
But wait a second! I thought genetic discrimination was illegal and that Insurance Companies couldn’t discriminate based on Genetic Testing!
Right you are, but wait… there’s a Catch!
Legally, insurance companies cannot require an applicant to take any type of genetic testing which could allow them to predict the onset of any future illness.
However, all insurance contracts are contracts of “utmost good faith”.
Legally, anyone applying for life insurance has a legal obligation under the Insurance Contracts Act (1984), and also the common law act, to disclose any and all relevant details to the insurance company.
Failure to disclose genetic testing to life insurance companies
Failure to disclose all the pertinent information that you know, or ought to know, could void your insurance policy and/or allow the insurance company to pay less for a death claim than the amount that it initially agreed to pay!
My Genetic Tests are My Business and My Business Alone!
This is true, which is why you generally you won’t see any questions on a life insurance application asking about any genetic test results.
Insurance companies will ask about ones “family history” or any “diagnoses or future treatments” to try to uncover any potential risks to their profitability in the future.
But Insurance Companies Don’t Just Stop There.
Insurance companies may also choose to look at one’s medical records prior to making a decision on whether or not they wish to offer coverage. They may decide to do this when the applicant:
- Has reached a certain age.
- Has been prescribed certain medications in the past or present.
- Has had some type of previous medical condition that the insurance company wants to know more about.
- Or if the applicant is applying for an unusually large amount of coverage.
In these cases, if a genetic test has been performed, the life insurance company is allowed to request a copy of it!
Are you saying Insurance Companies Discriminate Based on Genetic Testing Results?
Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)
Under GINA, it’s illegal for any employer to discriminate against someone based on his or her genetic code, and its illegal for health insurers to raise rates or to deny coverage based on the results as well.
This only applies to employers and health insurance providers. GINA does not prevent insurance companies that sell life insurance, disability insurance or long-term-care insurance from using information found within ones genetic tests in their underwriting determinations.
Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) does not prevent insurance companies that sell life insurance, disability insurance, or long-term-care insurance from using information found within ones genetic tests in their underwriting determinations.
Or in other words:
If you’ve taken a genetic test and a life insurance company has decided to order your medical records, they can and will most likely use the information within you genetic testing profile to determine if they wish to insure you, and if so, at what rate class they feel you deserve! That is why life insurance and genetic testing could be a dangerous mix.
So What Should I Do?
Well, there is no sense in crying over spilled milk, so If you’ve taken a genetic test already:
“It is what it is!”
However, if you haven’t taken a genetic test but you plan on taking one soon…Get Life Insurance First!
After all, even if your genetic testing reveals that you’re related to “Superman”, that doesn’t mean that you’re going to get a better life insurance rate than you would have otherwise.
In fact, a genetic test on your record will either have no effect on your life insurance application, or a really bad one… Which is why you should lock in your insurance policy first, rather than enter the dreaded high risk life insurance category.
Same Goes for Your Yearly Physical… If You Take One.
Exam versus No Exam Life Insurance: The same holds true about a general physical. We at TermLife2Go are constantly being told by our clients that they first want to get a physical from their own doctor and then, after that physical is completed, then they will apply for life insurance.
When this happens there’s typically 3 possible outcomes:
In our first scenario, the life insurance applicant will visit their own doctor first, presumably they’ll receive a “clean bill of health”, and then complete their life insurance application. In this scenario, there really is only one down side in that the client will have to take two physical exams, one with their doctor and then a second one with the insurance company.
The second possible scenario isn’t that serious, however in this case, the doctor may find something rather “insignificant” in the grand scheme of things but could become significant in your future life insurance application. Something as small as a brief medical note indicating you may have:
- High blood pressure.
- High cholesterol.
- Abnormal heart beat.
- Elevated blood sugar.
Any one of these conditions, if discovered by their primary doctor could possibly lead to having to pay a higher premium for your life insurance or even possibly having your application postponed until the insurance company feels 100% comfortable about extending an offer of coverage!
Lastly, it’s possible that you’re doctor could discover something much more serious regarding your health that a typical life insurance exam may not have uncovered. In situations like these, not only do you have to deal with discovering something that is potentially seriously wrong with you, you also have to deal with the fact that it may now be impossible for you to qualify for the life insurance policy that you need to protect your family!
For these reason and many, many more, it is generally best to obtain a life insurance policy before one goes out and builds up a huge medical profile for an insurance company to review prior to them making their decision on whether or not you qualify for life insurance.
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