Genetic testing bill – Why US data protectors are worried about HR1313

If HR1313 bill passes, employers could offer massive financial advantages to their workers – as soon as they agree to genetic screenings. Data protection experts are understandably worried.

HR1313 genetic testing

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HR1313 – Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act

With media focussing on Donald Trump’s blocked travel ban and failing to replace Obamacare, the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act (HR1313) has moved forward in US politics without many noticing.

On a first look, the intention of HR1313 does not sound too bad as employers could offer substantial health insurance premium rebates to workers who take part in company wellness programs. The downside to the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act: participating employees would have to take part in “health risk assessments” and these could include a genetic screening.

HR1313 not obligatory – Problem: financially attractive

Contrary to many articles about HR1313 the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act would not be mandatory for workers. So headlines like “It Might Soon Be Legal for Employers to Force You Into a Genetic Test” are not completely true in the literal sense. However, workers could save a substantial amount of money if they take part in HR1313 and quite possibly would have to pay more for their health insurance if they decline to participate. So people are encouraged to hand over their genetic information in exchange for saved money.

You can read the full text of HR1313 here.

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