Facing legal action, insurer now will cover people taking HIV-prevention drug

Mutual of Omaha has agreed not to deny insurance to people who use medications to prevent HIV infection, settling allegations of discrimination filed by the Massachusetts attorney general's office.

Mutual of Omaha has agreed not to deny insurance to people who use medications to prevent HIV infection, settling allegations of discrimination filed by the Massachusetts attorney general's office. The insurer also has settled a lawsuit brought by an unidentified gay man in Massachusetts who was turned down for long-term-care insurance after acknowledging that he took the HIV-prevention drug emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (Truvada—Gilead Sciences). "Consumers looking to protect themselves from HIV transmission should not be excluded from buying insurance," Maura Healey, the attorney general of Massachusetts, said in a prepared statement. Mutual of Omaha admitted no wrongdoing in the settlements and will make a $25,000 payment to the state. The company became the focus of discrimination complaints after applicants, mostly gay men, said they were denied disability, long-term-care, or life insurance solely because they were taking Truvada to protect themselves from HIV. CDC urges men and women at risk for HIV infection to take the drug daily. Studies have shown it to be extremely effective at blocking the virus, and health insurers almost always cover the cost. Some gay men said that they stopped taking Truvada, potentially endangering themselves, simply to obtain insurance.