News (USA)

Life insurance company denies coverage to man taking Truvada

Mutual of Omaha declined comment on the complaint.

“We have not seen the complaint and it’s our practice not to comment on potential litigation,” said Jim Nolan, a company spokesman.

Doe, a 61-year-old attorney and businessman who lives in Boston, said he began taking Truvada about a year ago after discussing it with his doctor. He said he has lost dozens of friends to AIDS and cannot understand the rationale behind rejecting his application for long-term coverage when Truvada is believed to reduce his risk of HIV. His long-time partner is also HIV-negative.

“I lived through the Holocaust of people dying from AIDS. I was doing my little part to stop that,” he said.

He said he received a letter in April from a chief underwriter for Mutual of Omaha denying his appeal. “We do not offer coverage to anyone who takes the medication Truvada, regardless of whether it is prescribed to treat HIV infection, or is used for pre-exposure prophylaxis. This in accordance with our underwriting guidelines,” the letter said, according to the complaint.

Doe alleges that Mutual of Omaha discriminated against him based on sexual orientation and disability, in this case, an assumption that Doe will in the future contract HIV, a health condition covered by the state’s antidiscrimination law.

Dr. Kenneth Mayer, a professor at Harvard Medical School and director of HIV Prevention Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, said he doesn’t understand why Mutual of Omaha would reject an applicant for long-term care insurance because he is taking Truvada.

“The last thing we want to do is discourage people from using this preventive mediation,” Mayer said. “The goal is to eradicate the number of new HIV infections.”

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