MoneyWise Live | January 29, 2019

Gene Kits and Insurance

Show Notes

There’s no doubt about it … job hopping is on the rise. Workers— especially younger ones— aren’t hanging around for 30 to 40 years anymore … hoping to someday get a gold watch. They’ll switch jobs in a New York minute.  But with all the job switching going on in today’s labor market— something’s getting lost in the shuffle … all those 401Ks from previous jobs … but maybe not for long. Financial planner and teacher Rob West has some interesting new details. 2017 was a huge year for the companies selling home gene kits. They doubled the total number sold to date - something north of 12 million kits.

  • That means 1 in 25 US adults now have access to their genetic make-up but unfortunately it also means some insurance companies can get that information too.
  • Aren't health insurance companies prohibited from using that information against us?
  • Health insurance companies are prohibited under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 from using home gene kit data to decide whether they’ll insure you or how much to charge you in premiums.  Unfortunately, Congress neglected to include companies that sell other types of insurance including life, long term care and disability insurance in that law so that left a huge loophole.
  • Who’s likely to have a problem with this when applying for long term care insurance and the like?
  • In theory at least, people whose data might now or in the future reveal genetic markers for hereditary disorders
  • If you buy a kit and discover that you're 1/2 Irish and a 1/4 Native American. That doesn’t mean I have to share whatever the test reveals to insurance companies, does it?
  • Yes it does. When you apply for long term care, term life and disability insurance, you’re required to answer medically related questions truthfully or risk the policy being canceled at some point.

Next, Rob and Steve answer some listener questions at 800-525-7000 or via email at Questions@MoneyWiseLive.org:

  • If you're the beneficiary of your husband's passing who left you a 401(k) and some life insurance, what are the obligations you should expect?
  • Are annuities a good idea for someone in their early 60s?
  • If you're caring for a young person and are concerned about her future, how do answer these questions?

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