BOSTON – Following allegations of discrimination against consumers, Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company has agreed to no longer deny coverage to individuals using HIV prevention medication and will offer affected consumers an opportunity to reapply for insurance.
The assurance of discontinuance, filed today in Suffolk Superior Court, resolves allegations that since 2014, Mutual of Omaha routinely denied life insurance and long-term care insurance policies to consumers in Massachusetts taking a medication known as Truvada for the purpose of preventing HIV. When taken for this purpose, referred to as Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), Truvada is highly effective in preventing HIV transmission. The AG’s Office alleges the coverage was denied based on the usage of Truvada.
“Consumers looking to protect themselves from HIV transmission should not be excluded from buying insurance,” AG Healey said. “Under this settlement, Mutual of Omaha will provide relief to affected consumers who faced this discrimination. We are pleased to join GLAD today in sending a message to insurance companies that these unlawful practices will not be tolerated.”
A plaintiff in a separate but related case also settled privately with Mutual of Omaha. In a statement, Bennett Klein, AIDS Law Project Director for GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), which represented the plaintiff, said, “We are pleased that Mutual no longer declines insurance coverage based on the use of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis, and we call upon other providers of life, disability, and long-term care insurance to do the same.”
In the agreement with the AG’s Office, Mutual of Omaha has revised its underwriting practices to ensure that it does not deny, rate, or otherwise take any adverse action against any Massachusetts resident who applies for any type of accident, life, sickness, or health insurance with Mutual of Omaha, including long-term care insurance, based on the applicant’s use of Truvada for PrEP.
Under the terms of the settlement, Mutual of Omaha will offer consumers who were previously denied insurance because of their use of Truvada for PrEP the opportunity to reapply for insurance under the company’s revised underwriting guidelines. For those consumers who qualify for insurance under Mutual of Omaha’s current guidelines, Mutual of Omaha has agreed to honor the premium rates in effect at the time the consumer’s original application was declined. The company will also make a payment of $25,000 to the state.
Consumers with questions about this settlement should contact Attorney General Healey’s Insurance & Financial Services Division at 1-888-830-6277.
The matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Tiffany Bartz and Legal Analyst Maggie Wallace of AG Healey’s Insurance and Financial Services Division.