Page 5. GINA

Patients are protected against genetic discrimination by their health insurers and employers by the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA). Genetic discrimination is considered the misuse of genetic information.

GINA essentially prevents health insurers  from denying coverage or raising rates because of genetic test results. GINA also prevents employers from making hiring or promotion decisions based on genetic testing results. Read more about GINA's health insurance protections and employment protections here and in the video.

Some important facts to remember about GINA:
  • When a health insurer pays for a genetic test, the insurer will have access to the patient’s genetic information. GINA regulates what the insurer can do with this information.
  • Health insurers may ask for genetic information to make decisions about whether or not they’ll cover a requested test, treatment, or procedure; however, 
    • They can only request the minimum amount of information 
    • They can’t use the information to discriminate against a patient
  • When an employer offers health or genetic services, they may have access to a patient's genetic information; however, just like health insurers, they cannot use this information to discriminate against the patient.

The intersection between GINA and HIPAA

GINA requires that genetic information be treated as health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Thus, it's subject to the same regulations that protect the privacy of patient information under HIPAA.You can review HIPAA facts in Resources.

Page 1. The standard of care
Page 2. Ethical, legal, and social implications
Page 3. Assessing psychological impacts
Page 4. Privacy and the duty to warn
Page 5. GINA
Page 6. DTC Genetic Testing Concerns