By Jillian Kramer. Photos: Stocksy.
It's safe to assume your employer hasn't asked you to submit any form of genetic testing, but if a new House GOP-sponsored bill passes through Congress, that might change—and there could be some big consequences if you say refuse.
The bill—referred to as the Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act—gives companies that offer wellness programs to their employees the green-light to demand your genetic information and the right to penalize those who decline with a hefty fine. If passed, saying no to testing could increase your monthly health-insurance premiums by as much as 30 percent.
It's unclear what companies have to gain by obtaining workers' genetic information. Proponents say it could help companies control costs and improve employee health—but there doesn't seem to be anything backing these claims. But many medical experts worry that the information could lead people at higher risk of certain diseases to pay higher insurance premiums or potentially lose medical coverage. Also murky: how companies would protect that personal information from third parties and advertisers, according to Fortune.
The bill has already gained traction in a House committee, passing with the support of 22 Republicans against 17 Democrats, Fortune reports, adding it could soon be attached to the Republican health care plan that would replace the Affordable Care Act.
Right now, some employers can force you to pay higher premiums if you refuse to participate in wellness programs, which often include basic biometric screenings, access to gym memberships, and health care-related questionnaires, Fortune says. But other laws keep companies from asking staff to submit to genetic testing.
If you'd like to voice concerns over (or support for) this new bill, here's how you can reach your Congressperson.
This story originally appeared on Glamour.
More from Glamour: