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Employee Benefits Security Administration

News Release

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Release Date: October 9, 2008
Release Number: 08-1455-NAT
Contact Name: Gloria Della/Richard Manning
Phone Number: 202.693.8664/202.693.4676

U.S. Labor Department seeks comments on genetic nondiscrimination requirements

Washington – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) today announced publication of a “request for information” (RFI) to assist the department in implementing the requirements under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) for group health plans and health insurance issuers. The RFI is to be published in the October 10, 2008 Federal Register.

Title I of GINA amended the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by adding new requirements prohibiting group health plans and group health insurance issuers from discriminating in health coverage based on genetic information. Specifically, GINA prohibits group health plans and group health insurance issuers from:

  • using genetic information to adjust premium or contribution amounts for the group covered under the plan;

  • requesting or requiring an individual or family member of an individual to undergo a genetic test; and

  • requesting, requiring or purchasing genetic information for underwriting purposes or prior to an individual’s enrollment under the plan.

The RFI on genetic information relating to group health plans and health insurance issuers will assist the department in fulfilling its obligation under GINA to develop regulatory guidance. The department is seeking public comments in specific areas while also seeking comments and suggestions on any additional areas or issues pertinent to future guidance.

Written comments on the RFI should be addressed to the Office of Health Plan Standards and Compliance Assistance, Employee Benefits Security Administration, Room N-5653, U. S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20210, Attn: GINA Comments. The public also may submit comments electronically by email to or through the federal e-rulemaking portal at

U.S. Department of Labor news releases are accessible on the Department's Newsroom page. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202.693.7828 or TTY 202.693.7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit the Department's Compliance Assistance page.