Genetic Information in Health Insurance: An Analysis of the Use of Genetic Information in Health Insurance

Camilla Sonne Lodsborg

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

The aim of this Master Thesis is to obtain a legal and an economic understanding of the regulation of genetic information in the context of insurance. Article 3 a of the Danish Insurance Contracts Act contains a prohibition of the insurer’s use of information obtained by genetic test. As of July 1st 2016 The Ministry of Justice has extended the prohibition to include medical history regarding the insured’s relatives. The prohibition of the use of genetic information in general is justified by an uncertainty regarding the information and a potential violation of human integrity related to genetic discrimination, sensitive personal data and individual autonomy in bioethical philosophy. The prohibition in article 3 a seems however to counteract the basic principle of insurance because the insurer consequently cannot distinguish between the individuals with different health risks and thereby segregate individuals with a hazardous risk. The Danish Insurance Association has stated that the regulation may lead to negative and unintended consequences for individuals with the need for insurance contracts with high coverage. In this respect economic theory predicts a price increase associated with inefficient insurance and a potential market collapse provided that the proportion of high-risk individuals surpasses the proportion of low-risk individuals. To shed light on the question of whether or not the prohibition is efficient in economic sense, this thesis examines possible consequences of a repeal of the prohibition especially in respect to high coverages. A repeal of the prohibition might be efficient predominantly due to thwarting a market collapse. A partial repeal of the prohibition might violate fundamental rights when some individuals are forced to undergo genetic test in order to be insured because they will be denied their right to not to be informed of genetic predispositions and in addition compelled to provide sensitive information to form basis for genetic discrimination. This thesis concludes that due to the uncertainty of genetic information and also a development in treatments and prevention similar with the spread of genetic test, a market collapse will not offset fundamental rights why the prohibition must be upheld.

EducationsMSc in Commercial Law, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageDanish
Publication date2016
Number of pages85
SupervisorsKim Østergaard & Henrik Lando