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Rights of Gays and Lesbians - Health Care

aids insurance hiv coverage

The AIDS epidemic aroused public fear of gay and lesbian citizens. Many insurance companies refused medical coverage to gays. Initially, almost any treatment was exempt from coverage because it was considered experimental. Other insurance company strategies included stretching out the legal process to let the AIDS patient die before a judgment was entered in favor of the patient and a more recent effort to place monetary limits on medical coverage. Lambda filed suit in January of 1998 against Mutual of Omaha to abolish caps on insurance payments with respect to the treatment of HIV and AIDS patients, alleging that the caps violated the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and the Illinois Insurance Code.

Lambda won a case in the New York Court of Appeals that required an insurance company to pay AIDS related disability claims on behalf of a homosexual who had paid premiums for five years. The largest national survey of AIDS policies and education programs in the workplace by the Center for Disease Control revealed in 1996 that nearly half of American work sites had implemented HIV/AIDS workplace policies, and one in six worksites offered their employees education programs that address HIV and AIDS. Nearly all worksites offered group health insurance, although 5 percent limited or excluded HIV from at least one of the policies offered to employees.

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