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Disclosure & health insurance
Jan 22, 2002

I work in a 2-person company, and we both have individual health insurance policies. I'm on a study, and fortunately, my premiums have not increased, so my employer hasn't had any red flags alerting him to my recent (July 2001) HIV conversion. I don't want him to know, as I know he would not handle it well, and it would jeopardize our working relationship and probably my job.

Now he wants to search for cheaper health insurance, for which I probably won't be eligible (my insurance company knows I'm HIV+).

Is there any reason other than HIV I can use to explain to him why I don't want to change insurance plans? I really don't want him to find out about my HIV.

Thank you.

Response from Ms. Breuer

I'm confused. These are individual health insurance policies, but they're both paid by the employer? Is that how it works? If so, then you have few appealing options.

First of all, even in a 2-person company, your HIV status is none of your employer's business. Your choices are: 1. Go through with the process of applying with new companies, and get in writing each company's commitment to maintaining your medical confidentiality before you let them draw blood. Write up a statement that makes it clear that they do not have permission to reveal findings from the process to your employer, and get them to sign it. You might be surprised by a company that would take you on. (I'm an eternal optimist.) 2. Tell your employer that since you first acquired the policies, you've discovered that you have a condition that might make a new policy more costly. Explain that the condition does not affect your performance of your job(because you're working well with HIV) and don't reveal it, but save him and yourself the time and expense of researching new providers. Make it clear in the way you respond to questions that you prefer to keep your medical information confidential and prefer not to know his. 3. Quietly begin looking for a job with an employer that has a group health insurance policy so that your status won't come up as an issue.

That's pretty much it. You could call a health insurance broker and ask whether s/he has any more suggestions, but those are the ones that occur to me.

I wish you well.



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