Karyotyping or genetic testing to determine chromosomal disorders in the prenatal stages of development has many benefits. Used in reference to preliminary medical procedures that can afford an infant a better chance of survival or quality of living upon birth is what the testing was designed for. When used in an unethical matter such as approval or denial of insurance coverage, the issue of chromosomal testing is then open for debate. Insurance companies have been known to previously discriminate Afro-Americans or families with histories of disease such as Huntingdon’s Disease. This is just another means of insurance companies gaining access to information they can use for coverage approval or denial.
On one side of the argument is those who favor karyotyping for insurance purposes. While insurance coverage will cover the cost of prenatal diagnostic testing for many circumstances such as ultrasound, amniocentesis, and maternal alpha-feto protein testing, many insurance companies are denying coverage on an infant who possesses abnormalities and chronic illness upon birth. Their reasoning behind such rationale is the difficulty in estimating annual medical costs from undetermined prolonged intensive care units.
Supporters of insurance companies and their right to refuse or deny infants according to results of chromosomal testing agree due to their fear of insurances raising costs to support payouts to carriers with severe medical needs. If insurance companies are required to carry policies on infants of large risk they may need to raise premiums to offset the costs.
The other side of the argument stands behind the breaking of ethical codes that denial brings to insurance coverage. The ethical debates that the genetic field already brings to the medical industry are a big controversy in this country. To play God with human lives can lead to perversion of what genetic study was intended for . Chromosomal testing is just another battle in the ongoing war of ethical value placed on natural selection in humans.
When parents find out they may be carrying an abnormal child or chronically ill child, they must cope with the surge of strong emotions that accompany such a diagnosis. To heap on top of that the chance that their child will have no medical coverage is a travesty to our democratic society. The right to medical coverage should be afforded to everyone.