Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Labor Department Issues Qs and As on GINA

The US Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration issued questions and answers on Title I of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA). The Department of Labor (ERISA) covers Title I; the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission covers Title II. Title I prohibits group health plans and health insurance issuers from discrimination based on genetic information:

The subject of these Frequently Asked Questions are the requirements of Title I of GINA under ERISA, prohibiting discrimination in group health plan coverage based on genetic information.GINA expands the genetic information nondiscrimination protections included in Title I of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Under GINA, group health plans and health insurance issuers cannot base premiums fora plan or a group of similarly situated individuals on genetic information. GINA generally prohibits plans and issuers from requesting or requiring an individual to undergo genetic tests, and prohibits a plan from collecting genetic information (including family medical history) prior to or in connection with enrollment, or for underwriting purposes.GINA applies generally to group health plans. Unlike the provisions under Title I of HIPAA, there is no exception for very small health plans with less than two participants who are current employees.The statutory provisions of GINA are effective for plan years beginning on or after May 21, 2009. The regulations implementing the provisions of GINA were published on October 7, 2009 and are applicable for plan years beginning on or after December 7,2009. Therefore, for calendar year plans the statute and regulations apply as of January 1, 2010. You can access a copy of these regulations at http://www.dol.gov/federalregister/PdfDisplay.aspx?DocId=23182.

For a copy of the FAQs, click here: http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/pdf/faq-GINA.pdf

See more on GINA and its implications for employers: http://www.delawareemploymentlawblog.com/discrimination_1/discrimination_2/genetic_discrimination/

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