72ºF

House, Senate to take up genetic information issue

8. While the exact cause of left-handedness is unknown, one theory is that handedness could be a result of genetics.
8. While the exact cause of left-handedness is unknown, one theory is that handedness could be a result of genetics. (FreeImages.com/Svilen Milev)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The full House and a Senate committee next week will consider priority legislation of incoming House Speaker Chris Sprowls: a proposed ban on insurers using customers’ genetic information to make policy decisions about life insurance, long-term care insurance and disability insurance.

The House is slated to take up its proposal (HB 1189) during a floor session Wednesday, while the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee on Tuesday will consider a Senate version (SB 1564) sponsored by Lakeland Republican Kelli Stargel.

Federal law already prevents health insurers from using genetic information in underwriting policies and in setting premiums. But the prohibition doesn’t apply to life insurance or long-term care coverage, which Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, has described as a “massive loophole.”

Insurance companies have testified they don’t use the information now. But Sprowls said he worries they might try to use it in the future as the popularity of genetic tests, such as 23andMe, continues to grow.

Florida would become the first state to have such a law if Sprowls and Stargel are successful.

Sprowls is slated to become House speaker after the November elections.