This month, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law the nation's first DNA privacy law prohibiting life, disability, and long-term care insurance companies from using genetic tests for coverage purposes.

The law, House Bill 1189, sponsored by Rep. Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, extends federal prohibitions against health insurance providers accessing results from DNA tests, such as those offered by 23andMe or AncestryDNA.

Federal law currently prevents health insurers from using genetic information in underwriting policies and in setting premiums, but the prohibition doesn’t apply to life, disability or long-term care coverage.

Insurers argue information gleaned from genetic testing, such as a person’s medical predispositions, could lower insurance premiums across-the-board. Lawmakers, however, argued that the same rationale could be used to raise rates.

Under HB 1189, insurers are prohibited from using genetic information to price policies and offerings. The bill blocks companies from requiring or soliciting genetic information from applicants, and forbids DNA testing companies from providing genetic information to insurers without the customer’s permission.  The law does not, however, apply to accident-only policy, hospital indemnity or fixed indemnity policy, dental policy, or vision policy.

Individuals can still volunteer genetic information from third-party tests to insurers.  And the new law applies to policies entered into or renewed on or after January 1, 2021.