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Res Publica

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 185–199 | Cite as

Genetic Discrimination and Health Insurance

  • Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen
Article
  • 612 Downloads

Abstract

According to US law, insurance companies can lawfully differentiate individual health insurance premiums on the basis of non-genetic medical information, but not on the basis of genetic information. The article reviews the case for such genetic exceptionalism. First, I critically assess some standard justifications. Next, I scrutinize an argument appealing to the view that genetically based premium differentiation expresses that persons do not all merit equal concern and respect. In the final section, I argue that even if genetic exceptionalism is unjustified, there is a forceful luck egalitarian argument against basing premiums on genetic risks, to wit, that this tends to make some individuals worse off than others as a result of the bad brute luck involved in having a genetically determined, above-average risk of developing health problems.

Keywords

Equal moral worth Genetic discrimination Deborah Hellman Insurance Justice Luck egalitarianism 

Notes

Acknowledgments

I am grateful to Ronen Avraham, Sune Lægaard, Thomas Søbirk Petersen, Jesper Ryberg, Frej Klem Thomsen, and an anonymous referee for helpful comments.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PoliticsAarhus UniversitetAarhus CDenmark

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