Genetic Counselor Kimberly Banks explains if genetic testing results can affect a woman's medical coverage.
Genetic Counselor Kimberly Banks:
It should not, and we haven’t seen any instances of it documented that it has. The longer answer is that there is federal and state protection, state legislation that provides protection in 47 of the states. Each state’s laws vary in terms of what’s protected.
For each individual patient, each woman, you will want to explore this question more with your provider, with the genetic counselor who knows the particulars of your state. In California, what I tell women is that, no, it doesn’t, and it won’t affect your insurability, and if it does, there’s repercussions because of that protective legislation.
Also, we have done follow-up studies with our patients to find out, “Okay, you went through genetic testing. You tested positive. We know that you are at elevated risk for cancer. You went through your insurance company for testing. They may or may not be aware of the result. Has anything happened?” And in our follow-up with patients, we haven’t found any instances of insurance companies ignoring or twisting those laws.
And that’s a general consensus that I have come across in communicating with genetic counselors across the U.S. So, in general, we do not want that to be a barrier, especially to going in for that consultation in the first place. And during that consultation, the specific answer for your situation and your location will be addressed so that you have the specific answer you are looking for.
About Kimberly Banks, M.S., C.G.C.:
Kimberly Banks, M.S., C.G.C., is the Program Coordinator and a Genetic Counselor at The Cancer Genetics Program in The Center For Cancer Prevention and Treatment at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California. Kimberly received her master’s degree in Genetic Counseling from California State University, Northridge, and conducted her fellowship at City of Hope National Medical Center. She is board certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling.
Visit Kimberly Banks at St. Joseph Hospital Cancer Genetics Program: