A Genetic Test to Spot Health Risks

Scientists first mapped the human genome 14 years ago. Since then, they have learned a lot about genetics, and someday that wisdom may lead to a cure for many diseases. But we’re not there yet. There’s “a ton we don’t understand,” says Lawrence Brody, director of the genomics and society division at the National Human Genome Research Institute. Keep that in mind if you take advantage of the first “direct to consumer” genetic test for health risks. That test became available in the spring, when 23andMe, a DNA testing firm, was the first company to win approval from the Food and Drug Administration to sell directly to consumers–without a prescription–a genetic test that screens for certain health risks. Here’s how it works: You pay $199 to order a Health and Ancestry kit online from 23andMe.com. When it arrives, you spit into a tube and mail it back. Two months later, …

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DOL Proposes Changes to AHP Rules

President Donald Trump issued an executive order last year to expand access to association health plans (AHP). The Employee Benefits Security Administration, part of the U.S. Labor Department, recently issued proposed rule changes that would help expand AHPs under the Affordable Care Act. It’s an effort to help provide more options for small employers looking for other insurance plans besides the small group health insurance market, which has been plagued with higher prices and fewer coverage options. “Association health plans are typically offered as packaged insurance programs to employers within a certain geographic region, such as from local chambers of commerce, or industry, such as statewide trade associations as a benefit of membership of the association,” says Chris Wolpert, managing member and employee benefits adviser at Group Benefit Solutions, an employee benefits management firm. Expanding the rules could mean changes for the insurance industry. Here’s what you need to know. …

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