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Tricky Life Insurance application
Jan 15, 2004

Thanks for answering this for me. I recently received an application from my NY teachers union to apply for term life insurance. Being HIV positive I never bother to read these thinking no one would give me insurance based on my HIV status. However when reading the medical questions, it asked have you been diagnosed with AIDS in the last five years? What if a person were diagnosed with HIV but not technically AIDS? And what if a person were diagnosed 10 years ago rather than in the last 5? Would it be wrong to answer no if 1, you were never diagnosed with AIDS and 2, if you were diagnosed longer than 5 years ago?

Response from Ms. Breuer

This is the first time I've read of such a clumsily-worded question on an insurance questionnaire. In my opinion, your response of "No" would be entirely defensible. Nothing in your medical records would indicate that you have AIDS, because you don't. If I were you, I would give this question a strict interpretation and say No.

As you know from reading other responses on this site, we never advocate lying on an insurance application, because lying often comes back to bite you. And you would not be lying if you said no. As my husband (an historian) likes to say, the quality of the answers you get is determined entirely by the quality of your questions. They asked a very diagnosis-limited question, which merits a limited answer.

Medical worker with HIV

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