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My status?
Apr 12, 1999

Is there any way possible my employer can find out about my HIV status without telling them? I heard that it is possible that your employer can find out what kind of medications your taking. Is this true? Plus since my employer is paying for my coverage can't they see how many doctor visits I have and will this increase there cost of my insurance?

Please respond. THANK YOU

Response from Ms. Breuer

The only way your employer can legally learn what medications you're taking is to ask you--not to ask the insurance company. If you're asked, contact an HIV-literate attorney (most likely through a local AIDS service center) to get advice about how to respond.

If your employer is handling your medical insurance coverage properly, they are getting reports on how many visits their employees as a group are using, but they should not be getting individual data on individual employees. Using it to discriminate against you would violate the law.

I suggest that you place a call to the insurance company that administers your employer's plan--without identifying yourself except as an employee covered by the plan--to ask how much personal detail goes into reports to the employer. If your plan is well-administered, the answer should put you more at ease. If you do learn that your employer is receiving employee-specific information, please contact the attorney.

Your medical visits don't put much of a bump into the cost of insuring you. It's nothing compared to the cost of hospitalizing you, which your frequent visits could help prevent. Employers pay rates based on overall use of the plan by the entire workforce, generally not by one employee.

Nancy Breuer



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