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Answer to an indirect question re: HIV status?
Apr 24, 2009

I will be moving to a new company, and the benefits package include group life insurance and group health insurance. The life insurance did not ask any question regarding my health nor did it ask permission to conduct background research on my health history. So I am not worried of committing fraud.

However, the group health insurance had a statement to the effect of "I had not and do not suffer from heart, kidney diseases, cancer/tumor OR ANY DISEASE/INJURY not mentioned here." No specific question regarding HIV/AIDS were stated.

How do I appropriately respond to this? Critical is the fact that the insurance enrollment takes place during pre-employment and prior to my regularization so I am highly at risk for discrimination should I volunteer my HIV status. Another fact is that the HR department handles the insurance enrollment so I am doubly at risk for discrimination should I volunteer my status.

Response from Ms. Franzoi

You should answer the questions honestly. Failure to do so could result in termination due to falsification on your applications and/or retroactive exclusion from the plan. In most companies, if those questions are asked and later, the employee feels that he is being discriminated against because of his health status, i.e., there is discrimination, the fact that the company had that knowledge would work against the company in the event of a lawsuit.



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