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What is GINA?

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, or GINA, is U.S. federal legislation with bipartisan support that protects Americans from discrimination (in health insurance and employment decisions) on the basis of genetic information. GINA has passed through Congress and was signed into law by the President on May 21, 2008. As a result, American insurance companies and health plans (including both group and individual insurers, as well as federally-regulated plans) will be prohibited from:

  • looking at your predictive genetic information or genetic services before you enroll;

  • "requesting or requiring" that you or your family members take a genetic test;

  • restricting enrollment based on genetic information;

  • changing your premiums based on genetic information.

GINA also prohibits U.S. employers (including employment agencies, labor organizations, and training programs) from:

  • discriminating against who they hire or how much they pay on the basis of genetic information;

  • "requesting or requiring" that you or your family members take a genetic test;

  • disclosing your genetic information in their possession except under specific and specially controlled circumstances.

GINA does not cover life or disability insurance providers.

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