Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2007


This project focuses on the extent to which dis-ability insurers should be allowed to use genetic information in underwriting and rate-setting, but this subject cannot be completely isolated from the related questions of whether life and health insurers should also have this discretion. Federal and state laws place significant restrictions on insurers' use of genetic information in health insurance, but regulation of such use in life and disability insurance is considerably more modest. This essay examines the reasons for this disparity and discusses the implications for future proposals to regulate disability insurers' use of genetic information in underwriting and rate-set-ting. The thesis is relatively simple: Communitarian values are stronger in health insurance than in life and disability insurance. Accordingly, the public is likely to acquiesce to insurers' insistence that they be allowed to make distinctions among insureds in disability insurance (and life insurance) that would not be tolerated in health insurance. The pattern of existing regulation with respect to genetic information bears this out, and the odds that this pattern will change in the future are low.

Included in

Insurance Law Commons



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