Efforts by employers to reduce health care costs by requiring employees to enter into wellness programs are in opposition to a federal law designed to prevent genetic discrimination. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act which took effect last year restricts employer’s and health insurance carrier’s abilities to collect and disclose genetics information. The Act includes not only genetic test results, but also family medical history. It bars employers from offering workers incentives to complete health surveys that ask about family history. The law bars insurers and employers from using such information for coverage and employment determinations such as hiring, firing and promotion. Wellness programs also include smoking, weight loss and disease prevention programs.
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