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HIV+ in a small company
Sep 30, 2002

I just started with a very small company and I read several of your postings regarding HIV and disclosure in the workplace before submitting my application for insurance. I did not feel comfortable threatening and attorney, but I did feel comfortable attaching the following letter: Dear N___: As acting HR reresentative for <my company>, I am sure you encounter numerous and varied medical histories and personal information. My case is no different and I have complete trust and the expectation that any confidential information I share on my application for insurance as required by <my company's insurer> will go directly to them and be kept in the strictest confidence. Because of my condition, it is very important that I maintain strict adherence to prescribed medications and any information you need to make the transition smootheris readily available from me. I have been covered by <old insurer> since March and can easily obtain a HIPPA letter to verify continuous coverage since 1997. The HIPPA letter will nullify any pre-existing condition waiting periods required by <company's insurer>. If you have any questions regarding my application, I will be happy to discuss them with you in confidence.

I attached this letter to my application in a sealed envelope and turned it in. Is this enough? Do I need to preplan legally? I am very nervous about all this!!

Many thanks! Danny

Response from Ms. Breuer

Dear Danny, Hooray! It's so great to see someone charting a course through the insurance stuff rather than just waiting to see what happens. You're doing it right. The only question I have is about "and any information you need to make the transition smoother is readily available from me." Do you really need this phrase? If I'm correct in assuming that the transition you refer to is from your old job and insurer to your new ones, you might just want to say that you look forward to working with him/her to make the transition to the new job and health plan go smoothly. I'm sure the form asks for plenty of information. Rather than offering more, I'd recommend offering a spirit of cooperation and dedication to doing the new job really well. You can never lose by focusing on the job rather than on the medical condition. If the recipient follows up by asking for more information, always ask why it's needed. Often it's just curiosity. In your questions and answers, always focus on the essential functions of your job, not the details of your diagnosis.

Good luck and congratulations! I think you're going to be fine.

Best regards, Nancy Breuer

The Temptational Scare
Medical confidentiality

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