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I Have a problem, please help!
Sep 23, 2002

Nancy, I want to start by saying I like the way you answer questions in such a open honest fashion and with a little splash of humor. My question is this if I want to work after I graduate as a high school teacher will I have to have a physical? If I am hired will an HIV test be required to join the group health plan? I most cases with a major company such as a fortune 500 do thier employee health plans conduct HIV test a requirement for new hires to join the health plan. Also what about employee group life insurance, would I for example have to take an HIV test as part to get coverage through work? Do most company group life plans require HIV test? Please help I would like to know what my rights are and what I should do to reduce the chance of having my privacy being taken away. Thank you for the service you are providing to me and countless others via this site!

Response from Ms. Breuer

Whew! Just finished answering the same question from someone else that came in on the same day. This is really a hot issue, and I'm so glad you're using this website to check out your rights. Thanks, too, for the comment. That helps keep volunteers going!

To respond to your specifics: Whether you need a physical to work as a high school teacher depends on your school district. If you are required to have a pre-employment physical, remember that comes only after the offer of employment has been extended, and basically it's a self-protective step by the district. They want to be sure you can fog a mirror and that you're not next in line for a quintuple bypass.

Most large group health plans do not require any kind of physical. You fill out a form (uh oh) and you're in. So: the form. It may ask if you have any major illnesses or if you are being treated for a chronic condition. Never, never lie on an insurance application; if the lie is discovered, not only can they pull the plug on your coverage, but they can bill you for all past coverage and premiums. Instead, reply by saying that you are under a physician's care for a viral infection that is controlled by medication. You are not obligated to disclose your diagnosis.

Most large employers' life insurance plans operate with even fewer questions. Same response: generalize, do not list individual meds, but do not pretend that you have no diagnosed health problems. (Read my other response dated today.)Private and small group plans do require an HIV test. The insurance lobby has made sure of that.

Privacy can only be protected while you still have it. Congratulations for thinking ahead, and please write back if you have follow-up questions. I think you'll find that you can navigate this process quite comfortably. Good luck!



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