Florida Legislature Passes DNA Privacy Act

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Florida has passed a bill that protects DNA from an expanded list of insurers. The Protecting DNA Privacy Act (HB 833) prohibits DNA analysis and disclosure of DNA results without express consent; removes criminal penalties; prohibits collection or retention of DNA sample of another person without express consent for specified purposes; and prohibits specified DNA analysis and disclosure without express consent.

It also provides criminal penalties. Submitting another person’s DNA sample for analysis or conducting the analysis will become a third degree felony. Disclosing another person’s DNA analysis to a third party would also become a third degree felony. Collecting or retaining another person’s DNA sample with the intent to perform a DNA analysis would be a first degree misdemeanor.

The legislation follows Florida’s HB 1189 which went into effect on July 1, 2020. It prohibited life insurers and long-term care insurers from canceling, limiting, or denying coverage, or establishing differentials in premium rates based on genetic information. It also prohibits such insurers from taking certain actions relating to genetic information for any insurance purposes.

The Orlando Sentinel reported that federal law already prohibited health insurers from using genetic information In underwriting policies and in setting premiums. The federal law did not apply to life insurance or long-term care coverage. HB 833 removes that “loophole” by adding life insurance, disability insurance, and long-term care insurance to the list of insurers that cannot ask for a customer’s DNA results.

HB 833 passed the Florida House, and the Senate version of the bill (SB 1140) passed the Florida Senate. The bill must next go through a hearing in the Senate Rules Committee before that bill or the House version can appear on the Senate floor. If the bill becomes law, the Protecting DNA Privacy Act would take effect in October of 2021.

Related Articles on FamilyTree.com:

Florida Guarantees DNA Privacy on Insurance

Findmypast Says Its DNA Testing Is Best For Protecting Privacy

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