Lena Gonzalez, 33rd District senator and former Long Beach councilmember, announced on Tuesday, Feb. 11 the introduction of what she calls the Equal Insurance HIV Act, saying it would prevent insurance companies from denying life and disability income insurance coverage based solely on a person’s HIV status.
Gonzalez joined state Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and LGBTQ-advocacy group Equality California to announce the bill, which would enact anti- discrimination protections in life and disability income insurance products for people living with HIV.
“Everyone deserves access to life and disability income insurance, regardless of pre-existing conditions,” Gonzalez said. “I am so proud that my first bill introduced in the Legislature will ensure access to these critical resources for residents who are HIV-positive. It is time that we end the practice of insurance companies refusing to provide services to those who need it most.”
The bill would overturn a law passed in 1989, when treatment for someone who tested HIV-positive was extremely limited, she said. Therapies were ineffective, highly expensive and came with severe side effects, causing many individuals who were HIV-positive to bypass treatment.
With current access to health care, advancement in HIV testing and more effective treatment, a person who is HIV-positive and undergoes and remains on treatment can live a long healthy life, Gonzales said.