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The company I work for is switching providers
Dec 3, 2012

My question is two part. The company I work for is switching health insurance providers. First, Can I be denied coverage because of my status? I have been HIV Positive for 7 years. I am in excellent health and my numbers are also excellent. I currently take Rayatz and Epzicom. Second, all employees have been asked to complete a medical history statement as part of the application for coverage. I am absolutly not comfortable with answering the question regarding being diagnosed with HIV due to the fact that our HR person at this small company (90 employees)will have a copy of the application on file as well as see my answer to this question. I feel much more comfortable with dealing specifically with the new insurance company in dealing with this issue. To further complicate matters, we have also been offerred the opportunity to purchase life insurance ($100,000) with no health qustions asked. However, will my answers on the medical questionare affect my enrollment on the Life Insurance issue? Please assist me in guiding me through this process.

Response from Mr. Chambers

The answer to the first question is easy, NO, you will not lose your employer provided health insurance. The federal law, HIPAA, prohibits employers and insurance companies from denying group health coverage to anyone because of a medical condition or health history.

I don't why they are asking you to complete a health statement, but I don't know what state you are in and some do allow health questions although they cannot be used to deny you coverage. You are right, however, in that the employer will get to see those as well as the insurance company.

There's not a clean way around this. You can leave that part of the form blank. When asked to complete it, you can tell them that you didn't think they could ask health questions for group health insurance or you don't want your confidential medical information released. Of course, however, that will raise eyebrows and HR will wonder what's wrong with you that you don't want known.

One trick I've used in the past is to try to contact the insurance company directly (not the agent/broker as they're usually friendly with the owner/buyer) and tell them the situation and see if you can turn in a "healthy" enrollment to your boss but a "true" one directly to some named person at the carrier who will replace the one you submit to your employer. That presumes you will get a sympathetic ear at the insurance company which is not guaranteed.

You may also want to contact an AIDS Service Organization and/or the Department of Insurance in your state to see if they have a solution.

Regarding the life insurance, if the supplemental life is non-medically underwritten, they cannot refuse your application despite what the health enrollment card says.

Good luck, Jacques



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