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Considerations On Becoming Self-Employed
Feb 13, 2003

Thank you for providing this wonderful and valuable resource.

My partner and I are both HIV positive. We were both diagnozed about 4 years ago, and have been successfully managing with a 3-drug regimen: maintaining Undetectable viral loads and near-normal CD4 counts for most of those 4 years.

My Partner wants to start his own business, and in doing so "give up" his otherwise good benefits and steady salary.

My company provides "partner benefits" for healthcare, so we're covered there; my questions relate to some of the other considerations and risks related to being self employed, and what we would be "giving up", including:

- Ability to get Life Insurance (we have no Life Insurance except that offered by our employers) - Ability to get STD and LTD insurance - Not sure if he would continue to be covered by my health plan if I were to go out on STD or LTD

Any suggestions you can offer about the things we need to be thinking about and considering in making a move such as this is much appreciated.

"Life is Short", and my partner wants to try this...and I want to be supportive of his need to do that. At the same time, I am a basically risk-averse person, and giving up these benefits makes me very nervous. I'd like to think we'll be healthy for a very long time, but....unfortunately we cannot be sure.

Thanks for your feedback.

Response from Ms. Franzoi

Your partner would not be able to purchase life insurance because of his HIV status. However, your partner should be able to convert his existing coverage into an individual policy when he leaves his employer. Employer-sponsored life insurance plans have a conversion option. This allows you to convert an amount equal to your existing level of coverage to another policy offered by the insurance carier without answering any health-related questions. Typically, the policies offered will be whole life, flexible premium life, etc. but term life usually isn't offered. In addition, if your partner has a group universal life policy that would be portable.

Some long term disability policies have conversion rights. Your partner should check to see if his current LTD coverage offers this upon termination of employment. If not, I do not know of any way that he could purchase coverage.

If your partner were to start up his own business and you found yourself going out on LTD and thereby unable to carry him on your health plan, hopefully, he could return to employment with another employer to get coverage. And if not, he would be able to get a HIPAA policy.

I hope this information is helpful. Please let me know if you have additional questions.

HAART and Sustenon250
Switching Jobs and Insurance

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