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Genetic information bill moves forward in Florida Senate

A loophole in federal law could allow some insurance companies to get genetic information
A loophole in federal law could allow some insurance companies to get genetic information

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Senate moved closer Tuesday to passing a bill that would prevent life insurers and long-term care insurers from using genetic testing information when pricing policies, a priority for incoming House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor.

Before teeing up the bill (HB 1189) for a vote, the Senate added an amendment that would make clear insurers can consider diagnoses included in medical records, even if the diagnoses were based on the results of genetic tests. But it’s not enough to assuage the concerns of the insurance industry, which maintains policy applicants would be able to withhold information from companies when they apply for coverage.

If passed by the Senate, the bill would have to go back to the House for consideration. A Senate vote could come as soon as Wednesday.

The genetic testing issue has long been a priority for Sprowls, who will become speaker after the November elections. Sprowls made headlines when he announced that he would sponsor the genetic-information bill. It’s unusual for incoming speakers to file bills; they usually have other members take on that task.