Genetic information, insurance and a pluralistic approach to justice

Journal of Medical Ethics 47 (7):473-479 (2021)
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The use of genetic testing has prompted the question of whether insurance companies should be able to use predictive genetic test results (GTRs) in their risk classification of clients. While some jurisdictions have passed legislation to prohibit this practice, the UK has instead adopted a voluntary code of practice that merely restricts the ways in which insurance companies may use GTRs. Critics have invoked various theories of justice to argue that this approach is unfair. However, as well as sometimes relying on somewhat idealised assumptions, these analyses have tended to invoke theories that have wide-ranging and highly revisionary implications for insurance. Moreover, they fail to adequately engage with a conception of justice that plausibly undergirds the status quo approach to insurance in the UK. I argue that it is a mistake to simply invoke a single contestable theory in seeking to develop sound policy on the use of GTRs in insurance. To that end, in this paper, I outline three plausible principles of justice that policy on this issue ought to balance: A principle of equity, a principle of equal access and a principle of need. In doing so, I shall offer a pluralist justice-based argument in support of the spirit, if not the precise letter, of the UK approach.



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Why Shouldn’t Insurance Companies Know Your Genetic Information?Neil A. Manson - 2007 - Journal of Philosophical Research 32 (9999):345-356.


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Jonathan Pugh
Oxford University

References found in this work

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