Genetic Test Consultation Launched


A decision by the Federal Government to seek community feedback on the use of genetic test results by insurers has been welcomed by CALI.

“Genetic testing can help empower Australians to manage potential health risks in a preventative and personalised way,” said CALI CEO Christine Cupitt.

However, she said the Federal Government should regulate the use of genetic test results by life insurers in the underwriting process.

And that regulation should support the Federal Government to make modifications to keep pace with advances in genetic science and healthcare, “…while considering any impacts on the accessibility and affordability of life insurance in the community”.

Australia’s life insurers helped develop a Genetic Testing Moratorium in 2019, which has since been included in the industry’s Life Insurance Code of Practice. The code outlines limits on how insurers can use genetic tests results, for example:

Christine Cupitt
Christine Cupitt.
  • An insurer will never ask or encourage a person to get a genetic test when applying for life insurance
  • An insurer must not use a person’s genetic test results, unless that person chooses to declare them (except when the insurance cover exceeds limits outlined in the code)
  • If the insurance cover exceeds the financial limits outlined in the Life Code, an insurer can ask a consumer for genetic test results but must not use them unless the test is relevant to the cover applied for (in accordance with the Disability Discrimination Act)
  • Insurers take into account favourable genetic tests if the consumer chooses to disclose them (for example, to show that they are not carrying a gene pattern associated with developing a hereditary illness) and any evidence-based preventative treatment they have undertaken that reduces their possibility of developing a hereditary illness

The Government’s consultation process will close at the end of January 2024.

Click here to review our previous reporting on the existing genetic testing moratorium and related issues.