The relationship between genetic testing and accessibility to life insurance has been rocky. Historically, life insurance companies have been able to discriminate against people based on genetic test results, which have to be disclosed at the time of application. Insurers could then either deny applications altogether or raise premiums significantly.
And while that is changing after a new self-regulated moratorium is being rolled out in mid-2019 — after which life insurance industry will stop using genetic test results as part of insurance applications for cover of under $500,000.
For cover of over $500,000 though life insurance companies will still be able to use genetic test results to price premiums and/or offer life insurance cover.
So what does that mean for those considering carrier testing?
Quick but important side note: the answer to this question changes depending on the type of genetic test that we're talking about. This applies specifically to carrier screening.
Carrier screening is not used to identify personal risks, and is generally used by individuals planning a family to know their risk of passing on serious inherited disorders to their children. Life insurance companies generally use genetic test results that do identify personal risk in deciding whether or not to offer someone life insurance cover and at what premiums to do so. Because of that, the risk of your carrier screening results affecting your ability to get life insurance or the premium you're charged is very low.
Now, that being said, genetics is complicated. Our counsellors will always tell you that there's a small chance that as we test for genes that impact your risk of passing on serious diseases to your children, we may encounter variations that may also happen increase your personal risk of a condition.
This is why we say that while it's very unlikely that your carrier screening results can impact your ability to get life insurance cover over $500k, it's not guaranteed.
Starting July 2019, though, genetic testing (including carrier testing) should not impact your ability to get life insurance cover of under $500k in any way.