Genetic Information and Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) Guidance

Version Date: May 31, 2012

What is GINA?
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 is a Federal law that prohibits discrimination in health coverage and employment based on genetic information.  Its purpose is to provide baseline protections against genetic discrimination.  Health coverage provisions of GINA were implemented between 5/22/09 and 5/21/10 and employment coverage provisions were implemented 11/21/09.  Genetic information obtained prior to these dates were grandfathered and protected.

GINA works in the following ways:

How does GINA define genetic information?
The statute defines ‘genetic information’ as information about:
Genetic information does NOT include information about the sex or age of any individual

Is anything NOT protected under GINA?
The following is NOT protected under GINA:

What are GINA’s limits?
The employment provisions generally do not apply to employers with fewer than 15 employees.  Additionally, the law does NOT:
Finally, for employment-based coverage provided by group health plans, the law permits the overall premium rate for an employer to be increased because of the manifestation of a disease or disorder of an individual enrolled in the plan, but the manifested disease or disorder of one individual cannot be used as genetic information about other group members to further increase the premium.

What do I need to do if my study involves DNA analysis?
The UW HS IRBs have model consent form language available here.