Legal Alert: What Employers Need To Know About the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008


After thirteen years of debate in Congress, on May 21, 2008, President George W. Bush signed into law the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 ("GINA"). This new law prohibits genetic discrimination in two general areas - employment and health insurance. GINA amends several statutes, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 ("HIPAA"), the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"), the Public Health Service Act ("PHSA"), the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, and Title XVIII ("Medicare") of the Social Security Act.

GINA does not apply to members of the United States Military, to veterans obtaining health care through the Veteran's Administration, or to the Indian Health Service, because the laws amended by GINA do not apply to these groups and programs. Nor does GINA include protection from genetic discrimination in life insurance, disability insurance, or long-term-care insurance.

This summary is intended to highlight some of GINA's key provisions for employers and group health plan sponsors.

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