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Hazardous Activities: These are activities that, if participated in may make you ineligible for coverage from the insurance carrier. Examples include, but are not limited to scuba diving, jet, snow, and water skiing, snow boarding, hang gliding, skydiving, paragliding, bungee jumping, mountain climbing, and amateur racing. Be sure to check the specific insurance company details and / or brochure for exact specifics.

HIV Consent Form: A required form completed by the applicant and submitted with the application for insurance. The form discloses to the applicant that the insurance company may test for the presence of HIV in the applicant's blood. By signing...

Home Office: The headquarters of an insurance company.

Home Office Urine Specimen (HOS): A full-screen urine test that an insurance company may require of applicants during the underwriting process...

Health Benefit Plan: The health insurance product offered by a health plan.

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO): A legal entity that provides or arranges for a comprehensive range of basic and supplemental health care services...

Hearing Services: The study, examination, and treatment of defects and diseases of the ear, by inspection, medical treatment and/or devices.

Home Health Care: Medical care provided by trained personnel...

Hospice: A program that provides care to the terminally ill.

Hospital: A facility which is licensed by the proper authority in the jurisdiction in which they are located and provides inpatient services for the care and treatment of patients.

Insurance Tip #16

One of the most controversial questions in debates over medical confidentiality is whether patients should have the right to keep their genetic information private. Over the past several years, scientists have made rapid progress in analyzing blood to determine the functions of genes, the tiny bits of information in cells that make up a person's physical blueprint. In addition to identifying genetic mutations that mean that a person is almost certain to develop a disease, scientists have also pinpointed gene defects that mean that a person is merely at higher risk to develop conditions such as heart disease and cancers of the colon, breast and ovaries. As the functions of genes are discovered, tests are developed to determine whether individuals have specific genetic mutations. Genetic tests are now available for more than 400 diseases.

While genetic tests can be useful, especially for individuals who know that they have a family history of disease and want to take preventive measures, their results are far from clear cut in all cases. A positive test for the BRCA mutation, a defect associated with breast and ovarian cancer, does not mean that a woman will definitely develop cancer, nor does a negative test mean that she will not develop it. Evolving scientific knowledge has complicated the matter. Until 1997, for example, scientists believed that a positive BRCA test meant that a woman would probably develop cancer at some point; experts now believe the risk to be much lower.

Health, life and disability insurance companies, which must assess each individual's health risks when selling policies, have seized on genetic tests as a way to identify individuals who are likely to incur high treatment costs. Even though most positive genetic tests do not mean that a person will develop a particular disease, many insurers believe that a test that indicates a predisposition to disease is a valid enough reason to avoid insuring someone.

 
 
 
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