Florida became the first u.S. state to enact DNA privacy laws on Wednesday, local time, banning life, disability and long-term care insurance companies from using genetic testing for insurance purposes,media reported. The governor of the state, Ron DeSantis, signed House Act 1189 (HB 1189).
Florida House Speaker-designate Chris Sprowls called the bill a major victory for Floridans, who are understood to have passed it 110-0 and the Senate 35-3.
Sprowls said that given the continuing popularity of DNA testing kits, that’s why they have to take action to protect Floridans’ DNA data from an insurance company that could weaponize them. As a cancer survivor, he discovered the huge hole when he called a life insurance company in 2017.
Under HB 1189, insurance companies are prohibited from using genetic information to price policies and products. The bill prohibits companies from requesting or obtaining genetic information from applicants and from providing genetic information to insurance companies without the customer’s permission. However, individuals can still voluntarily provide genetic information from third-party tests to insurance companies.
Senator Kelli Stargel, who supports the Sprowls bill, said it would protect the privacy of Floridans. “I am proud that our state has taken the lead in protecting our citizens from this threat across the country. I hope that as this bill is signed into law, it will become a model for the rest of the country, as DNA testing becomes more common and the need for privacy laws becomes greater. “
Although there is a law, insurance companies can legally obtain a person’s health records if DNA test results appear in a person’s health records. But in any case, as direct-to-consumer testing becomes more popular, genetic privacy is likely to remain on the agenda of lawmakers for years to come.