DNA Testing Can Impact Long-Term Disability Coverage
A disability can strike at any time, and may affect an individual to the point which he/she may be forced to stop working. In these cases, the individual may wish to take advantage of Long-Term Disability (LTD) Insurance benefits. LTD benefits are typically provided as part of an employee’s benefits offering, although individuals are free to purchase LTD policies on their own. Nevertheless, like any insurance company, filing a claim for LTD benefits is a difficult endeavor. Retaining the services of an experienced disability benefits attorney can help provide the best opportunity to get an approval of benefits. In an effort to ensure that they are only paying out benefits for legitimate disabilities, insurance companies will thoroughly examine every application for benefits. Additionally, LTD insurance companies purchased outside of an employee’s benefits program will review an application to ensure that the individual is insurable under their rules. The recent trend of individuals submitting samples for their own DNA test, unfortunately, can prove to have a negative effect on some LTD applicants. A discussion of how DNA testing can impact LTD coverage will follow below.
Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 is a federal law which protects Americans from being treated unfairly because of differences in their DNA that can impact their health. The law is intended to help ease concerns about discrimination that might keep some people from getting genetic tests that could help them make better medical care decisions. The law also enables people to take part in research studies without fear that their DNA information might be used against them in health insurance or the workplace. Accordingly, it is important to note that this law prevents discrimination only by health insurers and employers, and specifically does not apply to life insurance, disability insurance and LTD insurance policies. Asa a result, it remains legal for insurers to deny coverage not only to the person who underwent the testing, but to everyone in their family currently and in the future.
Strategies to Prevent a Negative Effect
DNA testing, like any test ordered by a medical professional, is most likely considered part of an individual’s medical records. Accordingly, the test, and the results of that test, are most likely required to be submitted to the insurance company as part of an individual’s medical history. Nevertheless, it is important to thoroughly understand the requirements of the LTD insurance policy to be sure that results of a DNA test must be submitted. If it is a requirement, this information will be used by the insurance company as part of their analysis.
Obviously, the best strategy to take to avoid having a DNA test affect an individual’s application for LTD benefits is to never submit for a DNA test, or, alternatively, to submit for a test after obtaining an LTD insurance policy. However, the primary draw of a DNA test is to alert the individual to potential issues in his/her health going forward. As a result, many people may decide it is still worthwhile to obtain a DNA test.
Further, some people may unwittingly make this information easy for insurance companies to find by discussing it on social media. To prevent this, it is important not to discuss this, or any confidential information, on any social media site.
If you are considering purchasing an LTD insurance policy, and you have submitted for a DNA test in the past, contact a disability benefits attorney as soon as possible. The legal team at Farrell Disability Law have many years of experience in disability benefits, and can help educate you on what you need to do to have the best chance at obtaining an LTD insurance policy, including in light of any DNA testing. Upon a review of your situation, we will work to ensure that your insurance application has the best chance at obtaining approval. Contact our Jacksonville office today.