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A little-noticed bill moving through Congress would allow companies to require employees to undergo genetic testing or risk paying a penalty of thousands of dollars, and would let employers see that genetic and other health information.

Giving employers such power is now prohibited by legislation including the 2008 genetic privacy and nondiscrimination law known as GINA. The new bill gets around that landmark law by stating explicitly that GINA and other protections do not apply when genetic tests are part of a “workplace wellness” program.

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  • Just read the text of the bill. On the face of it, the only information that can be collected as part of this bill is “information about the manifested disease or disorder of a family member” so they aren’t literally able to force you to give up your DNA. They would, however, be able to make you pay up to 50% more for health coverage than employees that do give up their DNA. It also gives an employee 45 days to request a “reasonable alternative standard,” but doesn’t give any guidance as to what that alternative should be. Not as evil as it is presented in this article, but it doesn’t put my mind at ease either. I’m not a fan.

  • The Trump Administration is subtlety trying to make it mandatory that employees undergo genetic testing to make sure they don’t have any “undesirable genes” that might compromise production. Some of these people may have a history of obesity or alcoholism in their family. Also, if that’s not scary enough the employee has to foot the bill for this very expensive genetic testing which is in the thousands of dollars. If in fact the employee is deemed undesirable then what happens then? They are also charged thousands of dollars for not doing the genetic testing! Who does this sound like to you? This is how Nazi Germany started finding out who they deemed desirable or not. I can’t believe this, in the house over 20 republicans supported this bill while 17 democrats opposed it. What is going on people? This should scare all of you, not only does it violate HYPA laws it’s none of my employers business what my genetics are. People please stop choosing partisan ship over patriotism. This is fascism in the truest sense of the word.

  • I work in the wellness industry and can say the employer will know none of your personal information due to HIPAA. However, the employer can get aggregate data if at least 25 employees take the test. We do a health screenings at our company and our employees see this as a benefit. They get free medical testing at work from a third party company and then get their results mailed to them. We as an employer see no individual results. We use the aggregate data to help us decide what kind of health promotion programs to offer. Our employees get an extra day off for taking the test and they also get breakfast after the test. The screening is a blood, draw, blood pressure, height, and weight. The blood draw tests for blood sugar and cholesterol. Employees can choose to have PSA, thyroid, and A1C screening if they want. Again no personal info is shared with the employer, it’s free to employees, they get all of their results which they can share with their doctors, and they get a free day off. Not to mention this is fine at work and no extra trip to the fixtures office is needed. Some employers will incent based on outcomes which can be up to 30% of individual insurance premium cost. But that employee must be eligible to receive the full discount by participating in a part of the wellness program.

  • Well, this is a little deceptive. It doesn’t actually allow employers to force employees to have genetic testing. It does allow them to offer it in order to receive a reduced cost for health insurance. It then lets the employer see that genetic profile once permission is given. So, I would say a great big HELL NO.

    • I think that the point is – if saying no will cost you 30 or 50% more on an [already expensive] healthcare plan, it amounts to extorting that money out of someone who says no. If there are thousands of people in this situation, most of them are going to (sadly) be pressured to make an economic choice. Employers using this ‘cost penalty’ for those who don’t take the test are effectively applying pressure on those people. And if you’re compelled to buy health insurance (which may change with the GOP law anyway – but for now, you’re compelled), saying ‘no’ is of detriment to you, just as saying ‘yes’ could be. Terrible choices, in my opinion.

  • This is true government control by passing a bill that allows employers and insurance companies to demand employees give private information that allows for discrimination and takes away the “right to privacy” which we are entitled as US citizens . Donald Trump had better pay attention to every detail of the new Healthcare Act proposed by republicans in congress. After being a registered republican for years I am changing my political designation based on the lack of truth, pandering to special interest groups; insurance companies etc. and taking away our right to some kind of privacy. We need bills to protect our information from being used against us !

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