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I don’t want my health insurance company to know I’m at high risk for breast cancer. Is there any way I can keep this confidential?

This is a common concern among individuals who are considering genetic testing. Fortunately, reports of discrimination based on cancer risk are rare. Most states have laws preventing insurance companies and employers from discriminating based on hereditary risk for a disease. Many also have laws protecting the privacy of genetic information. You can research your state’s laws through the National Conference of State Legislatures Web site. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) of 2008, a new Federal law, prohibits discrimination in health coverage and employment based on genetic information. You can get more information from the National Institutes of Health National Human Genome Research Institute.

If you are concerned about issues of privacy and discrimination, talk to your genetic counselor. He or she can help you understand the potential risks and learn about how other people have dealt with the same concerns.
Reviewed by Jill Stopfer, MS

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