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Monitoring the genetic testing and life insurance moratorium in Australia: a national research project

Jane Tiller, Ingrid Winship, Margaret FA Otlowski and Paul A Lacaze
Med J Aust || doi: 10.5694/mja2.50922
Published online: 8 February 2021

Is the current genetics and insurance moratorium an effective long term regulatory solution for Australia?

Genetic discrimination in life insurance is a longstanding issue in Australia,1,2 and has been the subject of two government inquiries.3,4 The use of genetic test results in underwriting continues to be self‐regulated by the life insurance industry.5 In 2019, following Parliamentary Joint Committee recommendations,4 the industry voluntarily introduced a moratorium restricting the use of genetic test results in life insurance underwriting for polices worth up to AU$500 000. Although the moratorium is an important step, concerns remain around the financial limits, public awareness, lack of government oversight and compliance monitoring. The impact and effectiveness of the moratorium needs evaluation to inform the planned 2022 review. A new research project has been funded by the Australian Government’s Genomic Health Futures Mission to serve that important function.

  • Jane Tiller1
  • Ingrid Winship2
  • Margaret FA Otlowski3
  • Paul A Lacaze1

  • 1 Monash University, Melbourne, VIC
  • 2 Melbourne Health, Melbourne, VIC
  • 3 University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS

Correspondence: jane.tiller@monash.edu

Acknowledgements: 

We are members of the A‐GLIMMER project team. A‐GLIMMER is funded by the first competitive round of the Genomic Health Futures Mission, part of the Australian Government’s Medical Research Future Fund (grant no. 76721). We thank the other members of the A-GLIMMER investigative team — Aideen McInerney-Leo, Louise Keogh, Andrea Belcher, Tiffany Boughtwood, Kristine Barlow-Stewart and Martin Delatycki — for their crucial and ongoing contribution to the project. We would also like to thank our project partners — consumer groups, research studies, clinical services, and industry groups — for their ongoing support.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

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