Genetic Information Employment Discrimination – Law Protecting Genetic Information Takes Effect

Last week, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) took effect. By way of GINA, Congress recognized that advances in genetics are invaluable for medical progress, but could give rise to the potential misuse of genetic information to discriminate in employment. Accordingly, Congress enacted GINA to protect the genetic information of employees and prohibit employment discrimination based on such information.
Under GINA, “genetic information” includes information about the manifestation of a disease or disorder in an employee’s family or the genetic tests of employees or their families. Genetic tests include participation in clinical research or other genetic services which analyze human DNA, RNA, chromosomes, proteins, or metabolites, that detect genotypes, mutations or chromosomal changes.Under GINA, it is an unlawful employment practice for an employer to fire, refuse to hire, or otherwise discriminate against an employee with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment based on the employee’s genetic information. Likewise, it is unlawful for employers to deny opportunities to employees or adversely affect their status by classifying them based on genetic information.Subject to numerous exceptions, GINA makes it an unlawful employment practice for an employer to intentionally request, require or purchase genetic information of employees or their families. Among these exceptions are:
When an employer inadvertently requests or requires family medical history;
Where, subject to other conditions, health or genetics services are offered by an employer as part of a wellness program and employees provide written consent;
Where an employer requests or requires family medical history from employees under the Family and Medical Leave Act;
Where an employer purchases documents that are commercially and publicly available that include family medical history; and
Where, subject to other requirements, the information involved is used for genetic monitoring of the biological effects of toxic substances in the workplace.
However, even an employer that acquires genetic information under one of these exceptions is prohibited from discriminating against employees based on that information. Further, an employer possessing genetic information of employees must treat that information as confidential medical records and maintain such records on separate forms and in separate medical files. In addition, there are strict limitations on the disclosure of genetic information of employees.It is also an unlawful employment practice for employers to retaliate against employees because they opposed any act or practice made unlawful by GINA.Finally, in addition to the foregoing rules applicable to employers, GINA has similar rules which apply to labor organizations, employment agencies and training programs.

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Health Insurance – Health Savings Account – HSA

Health insurance is a critical part of our health care system. For those that are lucky enough to have health insurance, they know that it shouldn’t be taken for granted. For a large number of the unfortunate who don’t have health insurance for their families, do so at great risks.Health insurance has long been a popular political subject for our country. There are many that fill health insurance should be socialized. There are just as many feel it should be kept private. While both parties may have sound arguments, we have to accept what is available to us. So, unless you’re a government employee, or one of the dwindling corporate employees still receiving health insurance, you need to go out there and get it on your own.There are a number of health insurance choices that should suit your specific needs. A Health Maintenance Organization, or more commonly called HMO, is one popular health insurance choice. HMOs are one of the most common forms of health insurance provided by employers. They allow you to visit a pre-selected hospital, doctors, or clinics, without restriction. This may or may not be totally covered by your employer, but usually comes at a fixed monthly cost.The Preferred Provider Organization, or the PPO, is similar to the HMO concept. With the PPO, you are not forced to get a little dig their doctor or hospital. When you do, however, you receive a discount for doing so. This system works on the reimbursement, philosophy. Essentially, you are reimbursed by your insurance company after services are rendered. Sometimes, they will bill your insurer at the time of service.Indemnity health insurance plans are eight other top and plan that has become quite popular these days. One reason is, you are able to choose any position or hospital you choose. The drawback to this of course is that it comes at a premium. In addition to higher costs ease typically require a larger deductible. For the hypochondriac this may not be the best choice. Those that like to make lots of visits to hospitals might find other plans more suitable. But for those that have to be on their deathbed to see a doctor, this may be an appropriate plan.The Health Savings Account, HSA, has some similarities to the indemnity health insurance plans. As the Health Savings Account is probably most suitable to the individual that doesn’t require a lot health care, or checkups. These individuals, which most commonly are men, may find the Health Savings Account to be a good choice for them.Health Savings Accounts are a way to both have a way to save and pay for medical expenses. Any contributions that are made to the Health Savings Account that go unused for medical purposes are retained in a savings account. This savings account can hold many popular investments, such as mutual funds. So, getting back to the individual that avoids medical care, this individual gifts for both best of both worlds. They get the protection of the much-needed health insurance. This provides protection against large medical or accident issues. But, if these funds go unused, they get the benefit of putting the money away for retirement. Any after-tax dollars that are contributed to the Health Savings Account can be detected, up to $2900 for 2008.Choosing a health insurance plan may seem like a very confusing process. There is no open and shut method of choosing the best health insurance. Each individual is different, with different health needs. The most important step here is to get some form of health insurance. Go in without adequate health insurance puts you and your family at tremendous risks. And those risks just aren’t worth the possible consequences.

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Medical Insurance Savings – Purchasing Group Health Insurance Or Individual Major Medical Coverage?

Medical Insurance Savings are a reality. Is purchasing group health insurance or individual major medical the best? Either can provide big medical insurance savings. The purchasing choice is yours, presenting some scenarios is mine.If you are self employed, or without current major medical coverage for yourself or family, you face a big financial decision. Should you gamble right now in good health, and hope you stay healthy? Do you lose medical insurance savings but gain long term security after seeing too many family health members whose health has seriously eroded?Numerous people are thrilled to save $150.00 a year on home insurance. Others rake in an extra $300 by finding a auto insurer matching their demographics. But the king of insurance savings is the $1,200 or more families can save on buying group health insurance. Millions more people each year qualify for group benefits. Purchasing group health insurance usually require having 10 or more employees. Do not confuse this with a made up “association plan”, making people feel they can get group insurance coverage just by paying a membership fee. The major medical coverage way be poor or great depending on the insurers benefits.So how do you maximize your medical insurance savings? If you are in good health, and are self-employed, have even a small eBay or other business, or are an independent contractor you have a choice. Sometimes purchasing group insurance coverage is the best route. other times individual major medical coverage is wiser. Here is the key factor. How is your current health, and what is your sense of how it will be 5 to 10 years from now. Purchasing group health insurance through your local chamber of commerce could be your answer for medical insurance savings. This is if you currently have medical problems or feel insecure about your future medical history.With few exceptions, you can join the local Chamber of Commerce, and get health insurance coverage on their group plan. Group Insurance coverage when compared to similar benefit individual major medical coverage is often at least 10% less costly. So if you were quoted $1,000 a month for a family individual major medical coverage, saving 10% equals $1,200.00 annually.Only with an individual plan is your current health a major issue of cost and insurability. Any major health condition now or in the past will creep out to haunt you. For individual health insurance, you may receive a counteroffer to play 50% to 100% more for the health insurance. Additionally any claims on your health coverage for pre-existing and current health issues will usually not be eligible during the first 180 days. Paying a couple grand out of your own pocket is certainly neither an uncommon or pleasant emergency expense.Enrolling in the Chamber Of Commerce plan is the route to go if you have current major health problems or pre-existing health conditions. The Chamber plan MUST accept you. And your current and past health flaws are covered in zero to 90 days. All this, and even unhealthy members pay the exact same cost as every other Chamber member.Now look at the negative side of the group health insurance coverage. A Chamber established for a long time can be bad for you. Now you have numerous members over age 55 with countless health problems. Claims are constantly paid out, forcing rates to rise. Each year the insurer looks at the claims paid versus the benefits paid out. Your rates could zoom upward suddenly and you may be trapped. Certainly, if now you are one of the unhealthy.Good health chamber members, often opt for individual major medical coverage when rates soar. This causes the insured pool to shrink further down to mainly medically prone members.. For those whose health has declined, they have no way out.. After your health declines, individual health insurance is no longer a viable option. Trapped into skyrocketing Chamber rates are not uncommon. Whenever the nightmare begins, there is one positive note, just be thankful that the government is not managing your important health future. Do you want to wait months to see a specialist?With so many individual major medical coverage plans offered through a variety of insurance companies you truly need a guide. By this is meant an independent insurance agent representing many different health insurance cariers, with options galore, and rates that differ dramatically. Some provide price sticker shock while another accepting only those currently with excellent medical histories provides medical insurance savings.Check out both of these options before investing your health on a very important decision.

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