Even If You’re Just Getting Your Genes Tested for Fun, It Could Cost You Later

Photo: Stocksy/Victor Torres
Given how easy it is to test your genes right at home, it seems like so many more people are giving the option a shot. The results can provide some baseline insights on markers like how you should exercise according to your DNA and your risk of getting breast cancer. But while knowing more about yourself on this deeper, diagnostic level can be totally useful and potentially life-saving, the info could also cost you in an unsuspecting way down the line.

According to NPR, results from genetic testing—whether conducted in lighthearted fun to get the 411 about your ancestors or for health reasons—can be used by insurance companies, potentially altering the price you pay...and even compromising whether you're eligible for coverage at all. While the Federal Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act doesn't allow general insurers to factor your genetic info into your typical health coverage, the companies can use it down the line when you're ready to sign up for long-term care policies, life, or disability insurance. And yep, even services as innocent as 23andMe play a role.

Insurers can't factor your genetic testing results into your typical health insurance coverage, but they can use it down the line when you're ready to sign up for long-term care policies like life or disability insurance.

If you undergo genetic testing after already having an insurance policy, the results won't play into the coverage you get or the price you pay. But experts say you're typically legally obligated if asked to disclose your genetic testing results when applying, since the information is considered medically relevant information.

So, it might be fun and telling to learn what your DNA says about you, but for the sake of your bank account and coverage options, you might want to draft a pro-con list before spitting into that tube.

Would you take a blood test to see how long you have to live? Or, find out why one woman's genetic test led her to getting a double mastectomy.

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