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I know I have the bright light/sneezing mutation :-)

Would this be a concern about privacy exist if there was no way your genetic profile could be used against you? If you couldn't be discriminated in any way on that basis, what else would need to be hidden?

I'm not asking rhetorically -- what else do we have to hide about our genes?




It is highly disruptive in terms of insurance. Insurance can only work if many people pay for the few who actually need the insurance. The best way for insurance companies to increase profits is to get rid of the people who actually need them from their pool: if they can have access to a good set of indicators to remove people with high incidence of diabete, kidney failure or cancer, they will use it. And once people understand that, nobody will use insurance anymore.

Health may become another kind of risks you can't insure against anymore, like divorce or unemployment.


That was true in the past, but is irrelevant now that insurance companies can't refuse to insure you, or even charge you more for pre-existing conditions.


Not true at all. If you know you are at higher risk thanks to your personal genetic test, you are more likely to buy yourself good insurance coverage.

1) More high risk customers buying the insurance concentrates the 'pool' of insured risks...

2) ...leading to more payouts

3) ...leading to higher insurance

4) ...leading to those without the risks opting to take cheaper, lower level coverage

5) ...leading to more concentrated risk in the pool of insured people in the good coverage

6) ...and back to step 2. The insurance fails, or becomes too high a cost to be worthwhile for anyone.


I agree with your points, but the result will probably just be higher rates, not failure. You can see it start to happen already with the early implementation of the ACA. However, that that isn't what I was talking about, and it doesn't support the parents claim that, "they [insurance companies] can have access to a good set of indicators to remove people with high incidence of diabete, kidney failure or cancer, they will use it."

My point was, no, insurance companies can't use the data, even if they had access to the it, which they won't.


I was wittering on about this earlier today: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6807778 and other comments in that older story - but my brief summary is: if you know your genetic data, you can then make insurance policy choices based upon it without telling the insurers. But when enough people do this collectively, the insurance market will (possibly) fail or be forced split offerings into various levels of cover. Customers then self-select and the end result is the same as if the insurers knew the data in the first place.


At this point do you really need the genetic data to get the same effect? I throw out my back, I upgrade my insurance, then I get the surgery. The doctor says I have 90% blockage in my arteries,I upgrade insurance, then I get the bypass. It seems like genetic data will have less influence than people making changes based on empirical observations of their health.


I don't know specifics about the USA, but certainly in the UK, private healthcare insurance works like most other forms of insurance, i.e. Pre-existing conditions or other relevant information is either not covered or must be declared and will be used to adjust premiums.

No car breakdown insurance lets you take out a policy to cover the vehicle after it has already broken down...


right, they just charge everyone more now.


Exactly, it was pretty dishonest for anyone to say the the ACA would reduce healthcare costs, it was obvious they were going to go up.


how about charging you more because you have a higher risk of a certain disease?


See the other story today about this: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6807275


That sounds like a pretty good thing.


Hm, let's see, these markers indicate a high probability of low intelligence, and over here, shall we say lack of industriousness. Here's one that's tied to problems with authority. And this one is correlated to serious chronic health problems, how much sick leave do you normally take? By the way did you know your Dad is the same as mine?! I sure didn't.


I think that all of those examples could be datamined today without any genetic testing (and probably are).


Like any personal information, there are ways that it might affect or interest others. There's no magic, foolproof way of stopping people from using information against you other than not revealing it. Hence, hiding it is always a good fallback.


Assume you are a woman or older than 40. Can you know wherher you have been discrimined, say, when applying for a job? It is illegal... But it is quite likely unnoticeable as well.


If your genes reveal you are at a higher risk of developing certain diseases and insurance companies had access to that information, they might deny your their products or charge you more for them.


Next time the government decides to do away with "undesirables" they'll have a list already built for them.




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