On discrimination in health insurance

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19 November 2019

In many countries, private health insurance companies are allowed to vary their premiums based on some information on individuals. This practice is intuitively justified by the idea that people should pay the premium corresponding to their own known risk. However, one may consider this as a form of discrimination or wrongful differential treatment. Our goal in this paper is to assess whether profiling is ethically permissible in health insurance. We go beyond the existing literature in considering a wide range of parameters, be they genetic, non-genetic, or even non-medical such as age or place of living. Analyzing several ethical concerns, and tackling the difficult question of responsibility, we argue that profiling is generally unjust in health insurance.