Genetics Policy and Law

Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) of 2008

GINA is a federal law that prohibits discrimination in health coverage and employment based on genetic information. GINA does not cover life insurance, disability insurance, or long-term care insurance. For more information on GINA, click here.

Click here for information about other existing Federal Anti-Discrimination Laws and how they apply to genetics.

Policy and Law in Wisconsin

Wisconsin has several state laws and policies regarding the collection and use of genetic information.

Wisconsin State Statute 253.13

Commonly known as the “newborn screening statute,” this requires that all babies born in the state of Wisconsin are screened for certain conditions before leaving the hospital. These conditions are sometimes called “hidden disorders” since they are difficult or impossible to diagnose just by looking at a baby. If a baby is identified as having a “hidden disorder” by the screening process, treatment can be provided to lessen or even prevent symptoms. More information is available on the Newborn Screening website.

Wisconsin State Statute 253.12

This statute mandated the creation of a Birth Defects Registry. This registry allows health care providers to confidentially report birth defects with parent consent. This information can then be used to identify birth defects risk factors, decrease incidence of birth defects, and facilitate service provision to children and families. More information is available at the Birth Defects Prevention and Surveillance System website.

Wisconsin State Statute 111.372

This statute discusses the use of genetic testing in employment situations. By law, genetic discrimination in hiring, firing, or setting conditions and terms of employment is prohibited.

Wisconsin State Statute 631.89

By this statute, health insurers are prohibited from requiring genetic testing or using genetic tests or genetic information to discriminate.