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HIV+ Healthy and want to buy insurance
Jun 1, 2001

I am 5 yrs HIV+ 5yrs and have always been extremely healthy. I have not had as much as a cold in 5 years. I have an excellent job (20 yrs) with great insurance benefits and make excellent money. I would like to a purchase a personal health insurance for hospitialization and prescriptions. I have had several opportunities to be self employed but I fear loosing corporate type insurance. Is there any insurance company out there that would sell me a policy at this point in my life?

Response from Mr. Berg

Generally, just being treated for HIV is enough to deny your appliction for a policy. Access to individual health policies are based on state insurance laws. It really depends on which state you live in since it differs from state to state. (My understanding is that New York has the most liberal laws and it wouldn't be much of a problem there) You may be able to join a group plan as an individual through membership in some association (alumni, union, Nat'l Assoc of Self-Employed, etc). Otherwise, you can keep your group coverage after you leave your employer for up to 18 months through the federal COBRA law. Once you exhaust COBRA, you have a 63 day window of opportunity to purchase an individual policy regardless of your health status through the federal Health Insurance Portability & accountability Act (HIPAA). You might want to check with your local AIDS Service Organization or state department of insurance for individual insurance options. You can get more information on HIPAA at the following websites: www. hcfa.gov and www. dol.gov/dol/pwba (check out the publication, Questions & Answers: Recent Changes in Health Care Law).



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