Personalised medicine is set to revolutionise the manner in which patients are diagnosed and treated. It involves genetic testing and a consideration of an individual’s health risk factors and genetic information and tailoring medical treatment accordingly. Such testing could lead to quicker diagnosis and treatment, but it does not come cheaply. It is unclear whether private medical aid schemes and state-funded healthcare institutions will cover the costs and to what extent.
Apart from the costs within the healthcare system, insurers will be affected as well. For example, more consumers may buy gap cover or life insurance if they realise that they are at a higher risk of contracting a disease. Questions around the duty of disclosure will arise. The calculation of premiums where the results of genetic testing forms part of the risk assessment will also be a factor to consider, and regulations may need to be developed to deal with any unfair discrimination that may arise.
For a more detailed look at the implications for the insurance industry and for consumers, read our article from Money Marketing here.