Genetic testing, confidentiality and insurance

If you have genetic testing for faulty breast cancer genes, your results will be kept confidential, except if you give permission for the information to be shared with your relatives’ healthcare professionals.

In theory, the results of genetic tests could be of interest to a range of insurance companies. However, there are rules set over what information insurance companies are allowed to request or use.

Can my insurance company ask about my test results?

Whether or not your insurance company can ask about your test results depends on why you took the genetic test.

You might have taken a genetic test if you have not had breast or ovarian cancer, to tell you about the likelihood of you developing one of these cancers in future. You do not need to tell your insurance company about the results of this kind of genetic test, and they will not ask you if you have had one or what the result is. Your insurance company will not ask you to take this kind of genetic test when taking out insurance.

On the other hand, if you have had breast or ovarian cancer you may have had a genetic test in order to find out whether a faulty gene is responsible for your cancer. Under these circumstances you should tell your insurance company that you have had cancer and insurers are also allowed to ask about the results of your genetic test. This could affect your insurance premium if this suggests you could be at increased risk of claiming on your insurance policy.

Insurers have a code of practice in place, called the Concordat and Moratorium on Genetics and Insurance, which is approved by the Government, so your interests are looked after.

Insurance companies can also ask about your medical history and the medical history of your relatives. This could include questions about your family’s history of breast cancer. Again, this could affect your insurance premium if the information shows you could be at increased risk of developing breast cancer or you have had breast cancer before.

Find out more in the pdf below:

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