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Vermont Weighs Genetic Discrimination Bill

State legislators in Vermont are considering a bill that would bar health and life insurance companies from denying customers coverage based on genetic information, according to VT Digger.

It adds that the federal Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, signed in 2008 by President George Bush, and other federal laws like the Affordable Care Act already offer some protection against denying health coverage based on genetic information, but that the Vermont bill under consideration — S.247 — would extend that to life insurance as well.

"We won't know the answer to a lot of the implications of our genes for many years, but right now, it's important to allow for people to use and have their genetic information looked at with their healthcare providers without discrimination," State Senator Ginny Lyons (D-Chittenden), who is co-sponsoring the bill, tells VT Digger.

Other states have also passed additional state-level protections. Florida, for instance, passed a law in 2020 that prohibits life, long-term care, and disability insurers from using genetic information in coverage decisions.