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Insurance application questions
May 31, 2001

I received an unsolicited offer of life insurance that asks a few questions posed in an interesting way. One deals with AIDS and asks: "In the past 3 years, has the Proposed Insured been diagnosed or treated by a member of the medical profession for: (c) Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)?"

While I have been diagnosed with HIV, I have NOT been diagnosed with AIDS.

In another, the company asks "Does the Proposed Insured have any chronic illness or conition which requires periodic medical care or may require future surgery?"

My question is, am I correct to answer #1 No since I don't have AIDS and is an HIV diagnosis considered a chronic condition?

Thanks.

Response from Mr. Berg

This is one of those tricky questions of symantics. The insurance company can't ask you if you're HIV positive, but can get around it with other probing questions. Based on the little you've told me, I'll agree with assumption #1. Personally, I'm not completely comfortable with calling HIV a chronic illness or condition, but I assume you are under the regular care of a doctor. Do they ask you what medications you are taking? I'm assuming that the dollar amount is low so no blood test is required. If you answer no the 2nd question and receive the policy, it will most likely have a 2 year incontestability provision giving them the right to rescind the policy anytime during the first 2 years of coverage if they discover you omitted information or lied. If you die during the first 2 years, they may determine that the cause of death establishes an omission of a chronic condition and they won't pay your beneficiary. Please check for any fraud provisions as well. FYI: recently, the FBI has charged a person with HIV with mail fraud in connection with a viatical fraud scheme since he lied on the mail-in application and then sold the policy. So, the life insurance industry is cracking down. On the otherhand, there still may be some naively worded applications out there in which life insurance can still be legally obtained. If you have any real concerns please seek legal advise.



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