Sunday, July 27, 2008

Rethinking Genetic Testing

Over the years, I've come down pretty hard on the use of genetic testing, especially as it regards insurance underwriting. Until now, I've felt that the dangers outweighed the benefits, and that there were other, more unobtrusive, means to accomplish the stated goals.
But I'm beginnging to rethink that position:
Turns out, some folks are genetically predisposed toward a potentially fatal complication that can arise through the use of statins (kind of a "the operation was a success, but the patient died" kind of thing). Since statins continue to be a front-line weapon in the war on cholesterol, it seems to me that this new development merits some new thinking on my part, as well.
In addition to genetic factors that could lead some folks to higher "bad" cholesterol levels, despite diets and excercise, it may be that its treatment could also elicit some dangerous problems as well, and if a genetic screening could help lower that risk, then it seems to me to be worthwhile awaiting further developments.
This impacts insurance in two areas. First, from an underwriting standpoint, where I'm still ambivalent. But from a claims standpoint, as well: what if the med that the doctor prescribes (and that the insurer subsidizes or outright pays for) causes major problems for the insured?
Definitely something to consider.
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