Many Duck DNA Tests Over Fears of Bias

Bosses and insurers will dis them over disorders, some say
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 24, 2008 5:06 PM CST
Many Duck DNA Tests Over Fears of Bias
Some Americans who have tested positive for genetic diseases keep their conditions secret from their doctors.   (

Some Americans are ducking genetic tests for fear that bosses and insurers may single out those with disorders, the New York Times reports. Others, tested privately, hide problems from doctors to dodge financial pain—leading, in some cases, to health problems that could have been avoided. But insurance reps and employers are calling the fears overblown.

One insurance rep says fears are "anecdotal," although 8% of underwriting picks were found to be biased against genetic disorders in a recent study. A genetic nondiscrimination law, passed by the House last year, is stalled in the Senate—while health care workers are raising alarm bells. “We are dealing with potential lifesaving interventions,” one doctor said. “It’s a tragedy that people are being scared off by this.” (Read more health insurance premiums stories.)

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