Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Cancer Genetics Risk Assessment and Counseling (PDQ®): Genetics - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications

Table 3. Comparison of Federal Legislation Addressing Genetic Coverage, Limitations, and Protections

LawCoverageLimitationsProtect All Americans
Adapted from Leib et al.[31]
Civil Rights Act of 1964Employment onlyDoes not apply to health insuranceYes
Applies in instances of discrimination based on genetic information if associated with race or ethnic groupsStrong association with a racial or ethnic group for hereditary cancers is rare
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990Disabilities associated with manifesting genetic informationDoes not apply to health insuranceYes
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996Group health insurance plansDoes not stop insurers from requiring genetic testsYes
Genetic information is not defined
Forbids excluding an individual in a group health plan due to genetic informationGenetic information can be used for plan underwriting
Forbids premium increases for different group plan membersDisclosure of genetic information is not restricted
Preexisting conditions can not include predictive genetic informationDoes not apply to individual health plans, unless covered by the portability provision
Executive Order 13145 of 2000Forbids Federal employee workplace genetic discriminationDoes not apply to health insuranceNo; excludes members of the United States military and anyone who is NOT a federal employee
Only applies to Federal employees
Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) (Enacted in 2009)Forbids genetic discrimination in the workplace and in health insuranceCivil suit is restricted to only those who have had all administrative remedies exhaustedNo; excludes members of the United States military, veterans obtaining health care through the Veteran's Administration, and the Indian Health Service
Genetic information broadly defined
Specific to group and individual insurance plans
Forbids use of genetic information in underwriting
Forbids requiring genetic testing by employers and insurersDoes not cover life, disability, and long-term care insurance

Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act 2008

GINA 2008 protects the provision of health insurance and employment against discrimination based on genetic information as follows:

  • Prohibits access to individuals' personal genetic information by insurance companies and by employers.[32]
  • Prohibits insurance companies from requesting that applicants for group or individual health coverage plans be subjected to genetic testing or screening and prohibits them from discriminating against health plan applicants based on individual genetic information.[32]
  • Does not prohibit medical underwriting based on current health status.[33]
  • Does not mandate coverage for medical tests or treatments.[33]
  • Does not interfere or limit treating health care providers, including those employed or affiliated with health plans, from requesting or notifying individuals about genetic tests.[33]
  • Prohibits employers from using genetic information to refuse employment, and prohibits them from collecting employees' personal genetic information without their explicit consent.[32]
  • Prohibits employment agencies from failing or refusing to refer a candidate on the basis of genetic information.[34]
  • Prohibits labor organizations from refusing membership based on a member's genetic make-up.[34]
  • Does not prohibit occupational testing for toxic monitoring programs, employer-sponsored wellness programs, administration of federal and state Family and Medical Leave Laws, and certain cases of inadvertent acquisition of genetic information.[33]
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Colorectal cancer cells
New! I AM Not Cancer Facebook Group
Lung cancer xray
See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
sauteed cherry tomatoes
Fight cancer one plate at a time.
Ovarian cancer illustration
Real Cancer Perspectives
Jennifer Goodman Linn self-portrait
what is your cancer risk
colorectal cancer treatment advances
breast cancer overview slideshow
prostate cancer overview
lung cancer overview slideshow
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
Actor Michael Douglas