Temporary changes – so don’t delay!
WORDS LEWIS KAPLAN
Following work done by genetic consumer organisations in the UK, the Moratorium on genetic tests in Life insurance came into effect in Australia from 1 July 2019 and will end on 30 June 2024. This means that from 1 July 2019, there will be a temporary suspension on the use of genetic test results as part of an insurance application up to the value of $500,000 (for death and total permanent disability), $200,000 for trauma and $4,000 a month for income protection.
While this is nowhere near as generous as in the UK, it’s a breakthrough of sorts. More details can be found here. If you don’t have access to the internet, here’s a summary, or contact us for the full fact sheet:
Private health insurance is not based on a risk assessment of your health. You will not be asked about genetic test results or your family history of health conditions.
Life insurance products such as cover for death, disability, trauma and income protection are based on a risk assessment (underwritten contracts). This may impact on the cost or terms of the policy.
- You are not required to have a genetic test as part of the risk assessment when applying for life insurance.
- If you do have a genetic test, your life insurance company must not use your genetic test results (up to the financial limits set above) unless you choose to declare them.
You may be asked
- Your age, gender, current health and medical history, including any signs, symptoms and any diagnosed conditions you have had or continue to have, even if diagnosed through a genetic test;
- The results of medical tests you have had;
- Any health conditions that have been diagnosed in your first-degree relatives (parents, children, brothers, sisters) only and the age they were;
- You are not required to provide any other information about your first-degree relatives including their genetic test result(s) if known to you, their name or date of birth.
THE LIFE INSURANCE PRODUCTS ARE guaranteed renewable
- As long as the premiums are paid, you do not have to notify the insurer of any change in your health or of the results of any medical or genetic test taken after your policy has started.
A genetic test undertaken after a policy has been secured that shows you have not inherited the faulty gene in the family, and you choose to declare the results, means that the impact of a family history may be removed from your risk assessment that informed the cost and terms of the contract. Contact your insurer to discuss this.
The Moratorium does not apply to existing life insurance policies.
Involve your family doctor, medical or genetics specialist if necessary, in negotiations with the insurance company.