Rep. Sprowls wants to ban life insurers in Florida from getting your DNA

Rep. Chris Sprowl, the incoming Florida House speaker, wants the state to ban life-insurance and long term care companies from using the results of your DNA test kits.

Jenny Gannon is hooked on the history of her and her husband. Gannon said his parents met at Page Field during the second world war. His dad was a radioman for search and rescue operations while his mother was a nurse. Gannon is tracing their history the old fashion way, rather than through DNA testing like 23andMe or Ancestry DNA.

“You just never know who’s going to get that information,” Gannon said.

Sprowl, R-Palm Harbor, and Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, want to make sure insurance companies, specifically life, long term care, and disability insurers, do not get that information. A new proposal, HB 1189 and SB 1564, would ban companies from drastically increasing your rates, canceling, limiting or denying you coverage based on your DNA profile.

Pam Seay, a legal studies professor at Florida Gulf Coast University and a practicing attorney, said from the perspective of the insurer, the DNA products tell them when a medical malady may arise. For the insurer, Seay said it begs the question, “why am I insuring someone that we know is going to get sick?”

Federal law already bans health insurance companies from getting genetic test results outside of what is already in your medical history. But that may not apply to life insurance, disability and long-term care companies, which could be seen as a significant loophole.

“If it’s considered health information, technically they’re not supposed to share it,” Seay said. “However, how many of us read all the authorizations and wavers?”

Gannon does not want insurance companies to charge her for diseases she may never get or have access to information about her family she cannot see.

“I can’t get information like on my kids if I wanted to find out what their test results are,” Gannon said. “I’m not allowed to have that information.”

Reporter:Anika Henanger
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