Res Publica

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 185–199

Genetic Discrimination and Health Insurance

Article

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 

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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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