Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)
GINA defines genetic information as the genetic testing of a person, his family members, or the presentation of diseases in the person’s family members (Chapman et al., 2019). GINA guidelines prohibit healthcare insurance companies from requesting and utilizing genetic information to determine insurance eligibility, costs, and conditions to be covered (Chapman et al., 2019). It is illegal for health insurers to use genetic test results or an individual’s family history to discriminate against them in insurance coverage. According to GINA, employers cannot use an individual’s genetic information to hire, terminate, promote, retaliate, harass, mistreat, or restrict employees (Chapman et al., 2019). Employers are thus not allowed to use genetic information or family medical history to make decisions concerning human resource management. The act has provisions in which individuals can file complaints if they feel that their employers have discriminated against them or insurance payers (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), n.d.). If individuals feel that their insurance payers have discriminated against them, they should report them to the state insurance commissioners, who must enforce the GINA guidelines. If an employee feels that his employer discriminates against him, they can complain to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
A female patient can go for a preventive hysterectomy and be denied health insurance by her health insurance payer, who would examine her healthcare records and discover that she has the BRCA1 gene, which increases susceptibility to developing breast cancer. The second scenario is that a surgeon may have their employment contract terminated by their employer when the employer comes across their health records and realizes that they have rheumatoid genetic markers, which can increase the susceptibility of individuals to developing rheumatoid arthritis. This will make the individual not being able to perform surgery.
GINA’s guidelines protect individuals from discrimination by their employers and insurance payers due to their genetic information. Employers and insurance payers must be aware of the GINA guidelines to avoid facing any legal consequences.
Chapman, C. R., Mehta, K. S., Parent, B., & Caplan, A. L. (2019). Genetic discrimination: Emerging ethical challenges in the context of advancing technology. Journal of Law and the Biosciences, 7(1). https://doi.org/10.1093/jlb/lsz016
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). (n.d.). Genetic information discrimination. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. https://www.eeoc.gov/genetic-information-discrimination
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There are reports about how people are denied access to healthcare insurance based on genetic testing.
This sparks concern and passion about how to advocate for your clients and families as a professional nurse. Review the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) of 2010. Describe a scenario where an individual with a genetic disorder could experience discrimination in obtaining health insurance and employment.
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