CMS Publishes Interim Final Rule on GINA

On Wednesday the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published the interim final rule for the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). In it, CMS modifies the HIPAA privacy rule to explicitly include genetic information within the definition of health information. 

The rule also proposes to:

  • prohibit health plans from using or disclosing protected health information that is genetic information for underwriting purposes;
  • revise the provisions relating to the notice of privacy practices for health plans that perform underwriting;
  • make conforming modifications to definitions and other provisions of the privacy rule; and
  • make technical corrections to update the definition of “health plan.”

The interim final rule applies GINA’s prohibitions on using and disclosing protected genetic health information for underwriting to all health plans subject to the privacy rule, rather than solely to the plans GINA explicitly requires be subject to the prohibition. It also proposes applying the prohibition on using or disclosing is genetic information for underwriting purposes to all health plans that are covered entities as defined by the HIPAA privacy rule.

CMS will accept public comments for 60 days.

Signed in 2008, GINA protects individuals against discrimination in health coverage or employment based on their genetic information.

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