The California State Legislature recently passed a bill to prohibit life and disability income insurance providers from denying coverage to HIV-positive individuals. The bill, initially introduced as SB 961 by Sen. Lena Gonzales (D), was initially concerning to NAIFA. Together with the Association of California Life & Health Insurance Companies (ACLHICI) and the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), NAIFA worked with Gonzales to amend the bill to give insurers more underwriting flexibility, while still prohibiting them from declining applicants based solely upon an HIV test.
The bill's revised language allows insurers to use sound actuarial principles to refuse coverage, charge different rates or limit the coverage. Ultimately, the language in SB 961 was amended into the Senate Insurance Committee bill, SB 1255, to help to reduce the number of bills moving in a shortened legislative session. The bill was sent to Gov. Gavin Newsome and is awaiting his signature.
“NAIFA-California was happy to work with ACLHIC and the Department of Insurance on the HIV modernization bill, SB 1255,” said NAIFA-CA Government Relations Committee Chair Marc Bergman. “Among other things, there were terms that simply didn’t apply 20+ years later that needed to be updated. It is important that we keep our Insurance Code current.”