Wednesday, May 20, 2009
A long-awaited federal law that shields people from genetic discrimination plants its first layer of protection Thursday.
The measure prevents health insurers from denying coverage, adjusting premiums or otherwise discriminating based on genetic information.
Experts say the law could put people at ease about having genetic testing or counseling. These tests can help detect inherited medical conditions. They also help doctors plan treatment for diseases like cancer.
The law takes effect Thursday for individual health insurance plans. It goes into effect for employer-sponsored coverage when the next new plan year starts, usually Jan. 1.
Another part of the law preventing employer discrimination starts in November.