Federal Employees, Military, Veterans, & Native Americans

GINA does not apply to individuals who receive their insurance through the Federal Employees Health Benefits, the Veterans Health Administration, the U.S. Military (TRICARE), and the Indian Health Service because Title I of GINA amends laws that do not have jurisdiction over these groups. However, some of these programs have internal policies that prohibit or restrict genetic discrimination.

Federal Employees Health Benefits
The Office of Personnel Management, which administers the FEHB program, requires all participating insurers and plans to accept all enrolees regardless of health status. For more information, see: http://www.opm.gov/INSURE/HEALTH/INDEX.ASP

Veterans Health Administration and the U.S. Military
For many years, the Department of Defense could deny benefits to a soldier or veteran who developed an illness of a known genetic basis after enlistment. In 1990, the Veterans Health Administration changed its policy and began covering genetic or hereditary conditions that manifest after enrollment, because they could be “service aggravated”. In 2008, the US Military followed suit and adopted the same policy for service members under TRICARE coverage. See these resources for additional information about these policies:

Indian Health Affairs
The Department of Indian Health Affairs is tasked with providing health care to all Native Americans and Alaskan Natives under its treaty obligations. However, Indian Health Affairs often experiences shortfalls in funding, meaning that some services are not available in practice. For more information, see: http://www.ihs.gov

President Clinton’s Executive Order Prohibiting the Use of Genetic Information in Federal Worker Employment (2000)

On February 8, 2000, President Bill Clinton issued Executive Order 13145, prohibiting discrimination in federal employment based on genetic information. The Executive Order prohibits federal employers from requesting or requiring any genetic information from their employees, or the use of genetic information in any employment decision. (At the time of releasing this executive order, he expressed support for a federal law prohibiting genetic discrimination by private employers or health insurance issuers.)

As of November 21, 2009, GINA affords federal employees the same protections as they had under the President’s executive order. For further information, see: http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/qanda-genetic.html [eeoc.gov]