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Session Law

2000

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Chapter 254 AN ACT RELATIVE TO INSURANCE AND GENETIC TESTING AND PRIVACY PROTECTION.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:


SECTION 1. It is hereby declared that it shall be a goal of the commonwealth to protect the results of genetic tests as private information. The purpose of this act is to maintain that privacy by:

(1) prohibiting disclosure of such results of genetic tests without the consent of the person to whom the information pertains;

(2) prohibiting the requirement of such results of genetic tests as a condition of employment or insurance; and

(3) prohibiting discrimination by insurance institutions based on the use of such results of genetic tests. Further it is the goal of the commonwealth to achieve these purposes without limiting the potential for medical research and permitting certain uses for life insurance underwriting.

SECTION 2. Chapter 111 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 70F, as appearing in the 1998 Official Edition, the following section:-

Section 70G. (a) For purposes of this section, the following words shall have the following meanings:-

"Confidential research information", any results of a genetic test maintained pursuant to pharmacological or clinical research protocols which are subject to and conducted in accordance with the review and approval of an Institutional Review Board established pursuant to the provisions of 45 CFR 46 and 21 CFR 50 and 56 which protects the confidentiality of the individual who is the subject of the genetic test either by encryption, encoding or other means consistent with the requirements of said federal regulations, or where the identity of the individual is unknown or protected from disclosure by encrypting or encoding, or by other means consistent with the requirements of said federal regulations.

"Genetic information", any written or recorded individually identifiable result of a genetic test as defined by this section or explanation of such a result. For purposes of this section, the term genetic information shall not include any information about an identifiable person that is taken:

(1) as a biopsy, autopsy, or clinical specimen solely for the purpose of conducting an immediate clinical or diagnostic test that is not a test of DNA, RNA, mitochondrial DNA, chromosomes or proteins;

(2) as a blood sample solely for blood banking;

(3) as a newborn screening pursuant to section 110A;

(4) as confidential research information for use in epidemiological and clinical research conducted for the purpose of generating scientific knowledge about genes or learning about genes or learning about the genetic basis of disease or for developing pharmaceutical and other treatments of disease; or

(5) as information pertaining to the abuse of drugs or alcohol which is derived from tests given for the exclusive purpose of determining the abuse of drugs or alcohol.

"Genetic test", a test of human DNA, RNA, mitochondrial DNA, chromosomes or proteins for the purpose of identifying genes, inherited or acquired genetic abnormalities, or the presence or absence of inherited or acquired characteristics in genetic material. For the purposes of this section, the term genetic test shall not include tests given for drugs, alcohol, cholesterol, or HIV; or any test for the purpose of diagnosing or detecting an existing disease, illness, impairment or disorder.

"Informed written consent", a written consent form for the requested release of a person's genetic information, or the release of genetic information, or for the release of medical records containing such information. Such written consent form shall state the purpose for which the information is being requested and shall be distinguished from written consent for the release of any other medical information.

"Insurance Institution", any corporation, association, partnership, reciprocal exchange, inter-insurer, insurance support organization as defined in chapter 175I, Lloyds insurer, so-called, fraternal benefit society or other person engaged in the business of insurance, including health maintenance organizations, medical service plans and hospital service plans, preferred provider arrangements and savings bank life insurance, as defined in chapters 175, 176, 176A, 176B, 176C, 176G, 176I, and 178A.

"Person", any natural person, corporation, association, partnership or other legal entity.

"Prior written consent", a written consent form signed by the person who is the subject of the test or, if that person lacks capacity to consent, signed by the person authorized to consent for such person which form shall not be a general waiver or consent for genetic testing and which shall include:-

(1) a statement of the purpose of the test;

(2) a statement that prior to signing the consent form, the consenting person discussed with the medical practitioner ordering the test the reliability of positive or negative test results and the level of certainty that a positive test result for that disease or condition serves as a predictor of such disease;

(3) a statement that the consenting person was informed about the availability and importance of genetic counseling and provided with written information identifying a genetic counselor or medical geneticist from whom the consenting person might obtain such counseling;

(4) a general description of each specific disease or condition tested for; and

(5) the person or persons to whom the test results may be disclosed;

(b) Hospital, dispensary, laboratory, hospital-affiliated registry, physician, insurance institution, insurance support organization, or insurance representative, and commercial genetic testing company, agency, or association reports and records pertaining to any genetic information shall not be public records, and the contents thereof shall not be divulged by any person having charge of or access to the same without informed written consent, except upon proper judicial order or to a person whose official duties, in the opinion of the commissioner, entitle receipt of the information contained therein, or except in connection with life, disability, and long term care insurance as authorized pursuant to chapter 175I or as confidential research information for use in epidemiological or clinical research conducted for the purpose of generating scientific knowledge about genes or learning about the genetic basis of disease or for developing pharmaceutical and other treatments of disease. A laboratory receiving a request to conduct a genetic test from a facility, as defined in section 70E, or a physician or health care provider may conduct the requested test only when the request is accompanied by a signed statement of the medical practitioner ordering the test warranting that the appropriate prior written consent has been obtained from the patient except where the test is conducted as confidential research information for use in epidemiological or clinical research conducted for the purpose of generating scientific knowledge about genes or learning about the genetic basis of disease or for developing pharmaceutical and other treatments of disease. The signed request authorizes the laboratory to perform the test and disclose the results to the medical practitioner.

(c) No facility, as defined in section 70E, and no physician or health care provider shall: (1) test any person for genetic information without first obtaining the prior written consent; (2) disclose the results of a genetic test to any person other than the subject thereof without first obtaining the informed written consent except where the results disclosed will be used only as is confidential research information for use in epidemiological or clinical research conducted for the purpose of generating scientific knowledge about genes or learning about the genetic basis of disease or for developing pharmaceutical and other treatments of disease; or identify the person being tested to any other person without first obtaining informed written consent or upon proper judicial order. Organizations conducting pharmoco-economic studies in systematic research to determine the cost benefits of specific treatment for genetic based disease shall be exempted from the need to re-obtain informed written consent.

(d) Whoever violates any provisions of this section shall be deemed to have violated section 2 of chapter 93A. Any person whose rights under this section have been violated, interfered with, or attempted to be interfered with may institute and prosecute in his own name and on his own behalf, or the attorney general, acting on behalf of the commonwealth, may institute a civil action for injunctive and other equitable relief.

(e) This section shall not apply to a law enforcement official in the execution of his official duties; to a hospital, laboratory or physician carrying out tests upon proper judicial order; or to law enforcement or health care personnel, or any other person, in the execution of their official duties pursuant to chapter 22E.

SECTION 3. Section 1 of chapter 151B of the General Laws, as appearing in the 1998 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding the following two subsections:-

22. The term "genetic information", shall mean any written, recorded individually identifiable result of a genetic test as defined by this section or explanation of such a result or family history pertaining to the presence, absence, variation, alteration, or modification of a human gene or genes. For the purposes of this chapter, the term genetic information shall not include information pertaining to the abuse of drugs or alcohol which is derived from tests given for the exclusive purpose of determining the abuse of drugs or alcohol.

23. The term "genetic test", shall mean any tests of human DNA, RNA, mitochondrial DNA, chromosomes or proteins for the purpose of identifying genes or genetic abnormalities, or the presence or absence of inherited or acquired characteristics in genetic material. For the purposes of this chapter, the term genetic test shall not include tests given for the exclusive purpose of determining the abuse of drugs or alcohol.

SECTION 4. Section 3 of said chapter 151B, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the word "age", in line 19, the following words:- , genetic information.

SECTION 5. Said section 3 of said chapter 151B, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the word "age", in line 62, the following words:- , genetic information.

SECTION 6. Section 4 of said chapter 151B, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the word "object", in line 5, the following words:- , genetic information.

SECTION 7. Said section 4 of said chapter 151B, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the word "age", in line 63, the following words:- , genetic information.

SECTION 8. Said section 4 of said chapter 151B, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the word "age,", in line 77, the following words:- genetic information.

SECTION 9. Said section 4 of said chapter 151B, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the word "age,", in line 80, the following words:- genetic information.

SECTION 10. Said section 4 of said chapter 151B, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the word "object", in line 89, the following words:- , genetic information.

SECTION 11. Said section 4 of said chapter 151B, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the word "origin", in line 97, the following words:- , genetic information.

SECTION 12. Said section 4 of said chapter 151B, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the word "origin,", in line 129, the following words:- genetic information.

SECTION 13. Said section 4 of said chapter 151B, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the word "age,", in line 154, the following words:- genetic information.

SECTION 14. Said section 4 of said chapter 151B, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the word "age,", in line 170, the following words:- genetic information.

SECTION 15. Said section 4 of said chapter 151B, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the word "age,", in line 214, the following words:- genetic information.

SECTION 16. Said section 4 of said chapter 151B, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the word "age,", in line 221, the following words:- genetic information.

SECTION 17. Said section 4 of said chapter 151B, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the word "age,", in line 230, the following words:- genetic information.

SECTION 18. Said section 4 of said chapter 151B, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the word "origin,", in line 321, the following words:- genetic information.

SECTION 19. Said section 4 of said chapter 151B, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the word "age,", in line 331, the following words:- genetic information.

SECTION 20. Said section 4 of said chapter 151B, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the word "age,", in line 335, the following words:- genetic information.

SECTION 21. Said section 4 of said chapter 151B, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the word "age,", in line 341, the following words:- genetic information.

SECTION 22. Said section 4 of said chapter 151B, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the word "age,", in line 630, the following words:- genetic information.

SECTION 23. Said section 4 of said chapter 151B, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the word "age,", in line 639, the following words:- genetic information.

SECTION 23A. Said section 4 of said chapter 151B, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by adding the following subsection:-

19 (a) It shall be unlawful discrimination for any employer, employment agency, labor organization, or licensing agency to

(1) refuse to hire or employ, represent, grant membership to, or license a person on the basis of that person's genetic information;

(2) collect, solicit or require disclosure of genetic information from any person as a condition of employment, or membership, or of obtaining a license;

(3) solicit submission to, require, or administer a genetic test to any person as a condition of employment, membership, or obtaining a license;

(4) offer a person an inducement to undergo a genetic test or otherwise disclose genetic information;

(5) question a person about their genetic information or genetic information concerning their family members, or inquire about previous genetic testing;

(6) use the results of a genetic test or other genetic information to affect the terms, conditions, compensation or privileges of a person's employment, representation, membership, or the ability to obtain a license;

(7) terminate or refuse to renew a person's employment, representation, membership, or license on the basis of a genetic test or other genetic information; or

(8) otherwise seek, receive, or maintain genetic information for non-medical purposes.

SECTION 24. Chapter 175 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 108G the following two sections:-

Section 108H. For the purposes of this section the following words shall have the following meanings:-

"Genetic information", a written recorded individually identifiable result of a genetic test as defined in this section or explanation of such a result.

"Genetic test", a test of human DNA, RNA, mitochondrial DNA, chromosomes or proteins for the purpose of identifying the genes or genetic abnormalities, or the presence or absence of inherited or acquired characteristics in genetic material. For the purpose of this section, the term genetic test shall not include tests given for the exclusive purposes of determining the abuse of drugs or alcohol.

No company, and no officer or agent thereof, and no insurance broker, shall cancel, refuse to issue or renew, or in any way make or permit any distinction or discrimination in the amount of payment of premiums or rates charged, in the length of coverage, or in any other of the terms and conditions of any individual policy of accident or sickness insurance, authorized pursuant to section 108 which provides hospital and surgical expense insurance, or a group blanket policy of accident and sickness insurance authorized pursuant to section 110 which provides hospital and surgical expense insurance, based on genetic information as defined in this section. No company, officer or agent thereof, and, no insurance broker shall require genetic tests or genetic information as defined in this section, as a condition of the issuance or renewal of any such individual or group policy of accident or sickness insurance authorized pursuant to section 108 which provides hospital and surgical expense insurance or a group blanket policy of accident and sickness insurance authorized pursuant to section 110 which provides hospital expense and surgical expense insurance. Any violation of this section shall constitute an unfair method of competition or unfair or deceptive act or practice in violation of chapters 93A and 176D. The commissioner may promulgate rules and regulations pursuant to this section.

Section 108I. (a) For the purposes of this section the following words shall have the following meanings:

"Genetic information", a written recorded individually identifiable result of a genetic test as defined by this section or explanation of such a result. For the purpose of this section, the term genetic information shall not include information pertaining to the abuse of drugs or alcohol which is derived from tests given for the exclusive purpose of determining the abuse of drugs or alcohol.

"Genetic test", a test of human DNA, RNA, mitochondrial DNA, chromosomes or proteins for the purpose of identifying genes, inherited or acquired genetic abnormalities, or the presence or absence of inherited or acquired characteristics in genetic material, which are associated with a predisposition to disease, illness, impairment or other disease processes. For the purpose of this section, the term genetic test shall not include tests given for drugs, alcohol, cholesterol, or HIV; any test for the purpose of diagnosing or detecting an existing disease process; any test performed due to the presence of symptoms, signs or other manifestations of a disease, illness, impairment; or other disease process or any test that is taken as a biopsy, autopsy, or clinical specimen solely for the purpose of conducting an immediate clinical or diagnostic test that is not a test of DNA, RNA, mitochondrial DNA, chromosomes or proteins.

(b) No insurer, agent or broker authorized to issue policies against disability from injury or disease or policies providing for long term care in the commonwealth shall practice unfair discrimination against persons because of the results of a genetic test or the provisions of genetic information, as defined in this section. For purposes of this section, unfair discrimination means cancellation, refusing to issue or renew, charging any increased rate, restricting any length of coverage or in any way practicing discrimination against persons unless such action is taken pursuant to reliable information relating to the insured's mortality or morbidity, based on sound actuarial principles or actual or reasonably anticipated claim experience.

No insurer, agent or broker authorized to issue policies against disability from injury or disease or policies providing for long term care in the commonwealth shall require an applicant to undergo a genetic test as a condition of the issuance or renewal of a policy against disability from injury or disease or policies providing for long term care in the commonwealth. Any violation of this section shall constitute an unfair method of competition or unfair or deceptive act or practice in violation of chapters 93A and 176D.

(c) In the provision of insurance against disability from injury or disease or policies providing for long term care in the commonwealth, a company, or officer or agent thereof, or an insurance broker may ask on an application for such coverage whether or not the applicant has taken a genetic as defined in this section. The applicant is not required to answer any questions concerning genetic testing. Any application requesting this information must contain or be accompanied by language informing the applicant that the applicant is not required to answer any questions in connection with genetic testing as defined in this section and language informing the applicant that the failure to do so may result in an increased rate or denial of coverage. If the applicant chooses to submit genetic information then the insurer is authorized to use that information to set the terms of a policy provided that such information is reliable information relating to the insured's mortality or morbidity, based on sound actuarial principles, or actual or reasonably anticipated experience. If the commissioner of insurance has reason to believe that unfair discrimination as defined in this section has occurred, and that a proceeding by the commissioner would be in the interest of the public, the commissioner shall, in accordance with chapter 176D, issue and serve upon the insurer a statement of the charges and a notice of hearing thereon. Upon a determination that the practice or act of the insurer is in conflict with the provisions of this section, the commissioner shall issue an order requiring the insurer to cease and desist from engaging in the practice or act and may order payment of a penalty pursuant to the provisions of chapter 176D.

Upon such determination, the commissioner, in consultation with the department of public health, shall hold a public hearing under chapter 30A and may, by order, determine, based on sound actuarial principles or actual or reasonably anticipated claim experience, that the genetic test which is the subject of the cease and desist order provides no reliable information relating to the insured's mortality or morbidity and that its use would constitute unfair discrimination. At least annually, the commissioner shall review any such order to assure that any such determination remains current and shall amend or rescind the order to reflect any change in the determination. The commissioner, in consultation with the department of public health after a public hearing under chapter 30A, may issue an advisory opinion on whether a genetic test provides no reliable information relating to the insured's mortality or morbidity, based on sound actuarial principles or actual or reasonably anticipated claim experience. The commissioner may promulgate rules and regulations pursuant to this section.

SECTION 24A. Section 108I of said chapter 175 is hereby repealed.

SECTION 25. Said chapter 175 is hereby amended by inserting after section 120D the following section:-

Section 120E. For the purposes of this section the following words shall have the following meanings:-

"Genetic information", a written recorded individually identifiable result of a genetic test as defined by this section or explanation of such a result. For the purpose of this section, the term genetic information shall not include information pertaining to the abuse of drugs or alcohol which is derived from tests given for the exclusive purpose of determining the abuse of drugs or alcohol.

"Genetic test", a test of human DNA, RNA, mitochondrial DNA, chromosomes or proteins for the purpose of identifying genes, inherited or acquired genetic abnormalities, or the presence or absence of inherited or acquired characteristics in genetic material, which are associated with a predisposition to disease, illness, impairment or other disease processes. For the purpose of this section, the term genetic test shall not include tests given for drugs, alcohol, cholesterol, or HIV; any test for the purpose of diagnosing or detecting an existing disease process; any test performed due to the presence of symptoms, signs or other manifestation of a disease, illness, impairment; or other disease process or any test, that is taken as a biopsy, autopsy, or clinical specimen solely for the purpose of conducting an immediate clinical or diagnostic test that is not a test of DNA, RNA, mitochondrial DNA, chromosomes or proteins.

No insurer, agent or broker authorized to issue policies on the lives of persons in the commonwealth shall practice unfair discrimination against persons because of the results of a genetic test or the provision of genetic information, as defined in this section. For purposes of this section unfair discrimination means cancellation, refusing to issue or renew, charging any increased rate, restricting any length of coverage or in any way practicing discrimination against persons unless such action is taken pursuant to reliable information relating to the insured's mortality or morbidity, based on sound actuarial principles or actual or reasonably anticipated claim experience.

No insurer, agent or broker authorized to issue policies on the lives of persons in the commonwealth shall require an applicant to undergo a genetic test as a condition of the issuance or renewal of a policy on the lives of persons in the commonwealth. Any violation of this section shall constitute an unfair method of competition or unfair or deceptive act or practice in violation of chapters 93A and 176D.

In the provision of insurance on the lives of persons in the commonwealth, a company, or officer or agent thereof, or an insurance broker may ask on an application for such coverage whether or not the applicant has taken a genetic test as defined in this section. The applicant is not required to answer any questions concerning genetic testing. Any application requesting this information must contain or be accompanied by language informing the applicant that the applicant is not required to answer any questions in connection with genetic testing or information as defined in this section and language informing the applicant that the failure to do so may result in an increased rate or denial of coverage. If the applicant chooses to submit genetic information then the insurer is authorized to use that information to set the terms of a policy provided that such information is reliable information relating to the insured's mortality or morbidity, based on sound actuarial principles, or actual or reasonably anticipated experience. If the commissioner of insurance has reason to believe that such unfair discrimination as defined in this section has occurred, and that a proceeding by the commissioner would be in the interest of the public, the commissioner shall, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 176D, issue and serve upon the insurer a statement of the charges and a notice of hearing thereon. Upon a determination that the practice or act of the insurer is in conflict with the provisions of this section, the commissioner shall issue an order requiring the insurers to cease and desist from engaging in the practice or act and may order payment of a penalty pursuant to the provisions of chapter 176D.

Upon such determination, the commissioner, in consultation with the department of public health, shall hold a public hearing under chapter 30A and may, by order, determine, based on sound actuarial principles or actual or reasonably anticipated claim experience, that the genetic test which is the subject of the cease and desist order provides no reliable information relating to the insured's mortality or morbidity and that its use would constitute unfair discrimination. At least annually, the commissioner shall review any such order to assure that any such determination remains current and shall amend or rescind the order to reflect any change in the determination. The commissioner, in consultation with the department of public health after a public hearing under chapter 30A, may issue an advisory opinion on whether a genetic test provides no reliable information relating to the insured's mortality or morbidity, based on sound actuarial principles or actual or reasonably anticipated claim experience. The commissioner may promulgate rules and regulation pursuant to this section.

SECTION 25A. Section 120E of said chapter 175 is hereby repealed.

SECTION 26. Chapter 176A of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 3A the following section:-

Section 3B. For the purposes of this section the following words shall have the following meanings:-

"Genetic information", a written recorded individually identifiable result of a genetic test as defined by this section or explanation of such a result.

"Genetic test", a test of human DNA, RNA, mitochondrial DNA, chromosomes or proteins for the purpose of identifying the genes, or genetic abnormalities, or the presence or absence of inherited or acquired characteristics in genetic material.

No corporation subject to this chapter and no officer or agent thereof, shall cancel, refuse to issue or renew, or in any way make or permit any distinction or discrimination in the amount of payment of premiums or rates charged, in the length of coverage, or in any other of the terms and conditions of a medical service plan based on genetic information as defined in this section. No corporation subject to the provisions of this chapter and no officer or agent thereof, shall require genetic tests or private genetic information, as defined in this section, as a condition of the issuance or renewal of a hospital service plan. Any violation of this section shall constitute an unfair method of competition or unfair or deceptive act or practice in violation of chapters 93A and 176D.

SECTION 27. Chapter 176B of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 5A the following section:-

Section 5B. For the purposes of this section the following words shall have the following meanings:-

"Genetic information", a written recorded individually identifiable result of a genetic test as defined by this section or explanation of such a result.

"Genetic test", a test of human DNA, RNA, mitochondrial DNA, chromosomes or proteins for the purposes of identifying the genes, or genetic abnormalities, or the presence or absence of inherited or acquired characteristics in genetic material.

No corporation subject to this chapter and no officer or agent thereof, shall cancel, refuse to issue or renew, or in any way make or permit any distinction or discrimination in the amount of payment of premiums as rates charged, in the length of coverage, or in any other of the terms and conditions of a medical service plan based on genetic information as defined in this section. No corporation subject to the provisions of this chapter and no officer or agent thereof, shall require genetic tests or private genetic information, as defined in this section, as a condition of the issuance or renewal of a medical service plan. Any violation of this section shall constitute an unfair method of competition or unfair or deceptive act or practice in violation of chapters 93A and 176D.

SECTION 28. Chapter 176G of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following section:-

Section 24. For the purposes of this section the following words shall have the following meanings:-

"Genetic information", any written recorded individually identifiable result of a genetic test as defined by this section or explanation of such a result.

"Genetic test", a test of human DNA, RNA, mitochondrial DNA, chromosomes or proteins for the purpose of identifying the genes, or genetic abnormalities, or the presence or absence of inherited or acquired characteristics in genetic material.

No health maintenance organization subject to this chapter, and no officer or agent thereof, shall cancel, refuse to issue or renew, or in any way make or permit any distinction or discrimination in the amount of payment of premium or rates charged, in the length of coverage or in any of the terms and conditions of a health maintenance contract based on genetic information as defined in this section. No health maintenance organization subject to the provisions of this chapter and no officer or agent thereof, shall require genetic tests or private genetic information, as defined in this section, as a condition of the issuance or renewal of a health maintenance contract. Any violation of this section shall constitute an unfair method of competition or deceptive act or practice in violation of chapters 93A and 176D.

SECTION 29. Chapter 176I of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 4, as appearing in the 1998 Official Edition, the following section:-

Section 4A. For the purposes of this section the following words shall have the following meanings:-

"Genetic information", a written recorded individually identifiable result of a genetic test as defined by this section or explanation of such a result.

"Genetic test", a test of human DNA, RNA, mitochondrial DNA, chromosomes or proteins for the purpose of identifying the genes, or genetic abnormalities, or the presence or absence of inherited or acquired characteristics in genetic material.

No organization and no preferred provider shall cancel, refuse to issue or renew, or in any way make or permit any distinction or discrimination in the amount of payment of premiums or rates charged, in the length of coverage or in any of the terms and conditions of a health benefit plan based on genetic information as defined in this section. No organization and no preferred provider shall require genetic tests or private genetic information, as defined in this section, as a condition of the issuance or renewal of a health benefit plan.

SECTION 30. The department of public health and the division of insurance shall establish a special commission to investigate the use of genetic test results in connection with the issuance of life, disability, and long term care insurance. Said commission shall investigate the methods utilized in such life, long term care and disability industries in the acquisition, dissemination and protection of genetic information of insurance applicants, specifically the provisions of chapter 176D of the General Laws. Said commission shall investigate the utility and necessity of giving life, long term care and disability insurers the power to require a genetic test of insurance applicants. Said commission shall investigate the continuation of sections 24 and 25 past the December 31, 2005 expiration date. Said commission shall make recommendations of any changes necessary to protect the privacy of insurance applicants in connection with genetic information, and necessary to address the potential for fraud and misrepresentation by applicants.

Said commission shall consist of 13 members, including three members of the house of representatives, one of whom shall be the chairman of the house committee on science and technology and one of whom shall be the house chairman of the joint committee on insurance; three members of the senate, one of whom shall be the chairman of the senate committee on science and technology and one of whom shall be the senate chairman of the joint committee on insurance; the commissioner of public health or designee; the commissioner of insurance or designee; and five members who shall be named by the governor, one of whom shall be a representative of the Life Insurance Association of Massachusetts, one of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Medical Society, one of whom shall be a representative of the Council for Responsible Genetics, and one of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Association of Life Underwriters and one of whom shall be a member of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council.

Said commission shall report to the general court the results of its investigation and study, and its recommendations, if any, together with drafts of legislation necessary to carry its recommendations into effect, by filing the same with the clerk of the house of representatives, who shall forward the same to the senate committee on science and technology, the house committee on science and technology, the joint committee on insurance and the joint committee on health care on or before July 1, 2002.

SECTION 30A. This act shall not apply to, or be construed to limit the provisions of chapter 22E of the General Laws or the activities of law enforcement officials, hospital, laboratory, physician, health care personnel, or any other person acting in accordance with the provisions of said chapter 22E.

SECTION 31. Sections 24A and 25A shall take effect on January 1, 2006.

Approved August 22, 2000.

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