Genetic Testing and Adverse Selection in the Market for Life Insurance

Preliminary Findings for the BRCA1 Gene Mutation
  • Ken R. Smith
  • Cathleen D. Zick
  • Robert N. Mayer
  • Jeffrey R. Botkin


The human genome project is rapidly fueling the development of genetic tests for inherited diseases. Over 100 different genetic tests are currently available for a wide range of diseases including Huntington disease, hypercholesterolemia, sickle-cell trait, and selected forms of Alzheimer’s disease, colon cancer, melanoma, breast and ovarian cancer. The U.S. Congressional Office of Technology Assessment has projected that there will be a tenfold rise in the number of genetic tests that are available during the 1990s (U.S. Congressional..., 1988). Increasingly, a variety of public and private interest groups are raising questions about what individuals and society should do with such genetic information. Within the life and health insurance markets, ethical concerns regarding genetic discrimination are clashing with the underwriting needs of insurance companies.


Ovarian Cancer Genetic Test Life Insurance Adverse Selection Genetic Test Result 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ken R. Smith
    • 1
  • Cathleen D. Zick
    • 1
  • Robert N. Mayer
    • 1
  • Jeffrey R. Botkin
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Family and Consumer StudiesUniversity of UtahSalt Lake City
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsUniversity of UtahSalt Lake City

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