Meeting Legal Action, Insurer Now Will Cover Patients Taking Truvada, an H.I.V.-Prevention Drug.

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Regulators had involved Mutual of Omaha of rejecting policies to applicants, mostly gay people, who took medication to defend against the infection.

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Mutual of Omaha’s office in Nebraska. The organization said it was revising its policies and would no longer refuse insurance to people solely because they are accepting Truvada.

Kristoffer Tripplaar/Alamy


Settling charges of discrimination filed through the Massachusetts attorney general’s office, Mutual of Omaha has admitted not to deny insurance to people who use pills to prevent H.I.V. infection.

The insurer also has decided a lawsuit brought by an anonymous gay man in Massachusetts. That was set down for long-term-care insurance after declaring, “he reaped an H.I.V.-prevention drug called Truvada”

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“Consumers looking to guard themselves against H.I.V. transmission should not be prohibited from purchasing insurance,” Maura Healey, the attorney general of Massachusetts, said in a qualified statement.

The company acknowledged no wrongdoing in the compensations and will make a $25,000 payment to the case.

Mutual of Omaha became the center of discrimination charges after applicants, mostly gay men, said they have dismissed disability, long-term care or life insurance individually because they were taking Truvada to defend themselves from H.I.V., a practice termed PrEP (short for pre-exposure prophylaxis).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends men and women at risk for H.I.V. infection to exert Truvada daily. Studies have confirmed the drug to be extremely useful at blocking the virus, and health insurers almost perpetually cover the cost.

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Some gay men told that they discontinued taking Truvada, potentially compromising themselves, simply to purchase insurance. After The Times reported the dismissals last year, regulators in New York also began reviewing insurers in the state to see if they were involved in similar practices.

Mutual of Omaha’s contract with the Massachusetts attorney general implemented only within that state. But the organization has now revised its evaluation disciplines nationwide, said Andy Halpern, a representative for the insurer.

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Similar to other insurers, Mutual of Omaha has underwriting guidelines that are regularly proprietary and hidden from state view. Customers who want to purchase long-term-care, life or disability coverage are evaluated and ranked.

Some conditions, including H.I.V. infection, are adequate for an insurer to reject coverage. But Mutual of Omaha’s disapproval in more than a dozen incidents was based not on medical status but on the usage of medication by healthy people, according to Bennett Klein, a solicitor at GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders in Boston.

Mr. Klein, who exemplified the gay man who was rejected long-term-care insurance, explained that the policy amounted to discrimination on the basis of sexual bearings since 80 percent of people who use Truvada are gay men.

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Mutual of Omaha “marked them as lame, the same way as they would eliminate a person who has H.I.V.,” Mr. Klein said. To organization evaluators, the reality that an applicant was on PrEP meant that he was by rendering at high risk for H.I.V. infection.

“But they don’t contrarily assess H.I.V. risk,” Mr. Klein added. “They don’t ask if you interest in unsafe practices or do you apply a condom.”

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Mutual of Omaha’s permissions are “wonderful,” said Scott Schoettes, H.I.V. project leader for Lambda Legal, an L.G.B.T. advocacy association.

“Now we require the rest of the insurance activity to fall in line and realize that if people don’t, they will suffer legal actions against them,” Mr. Schoettes added.

A version of this column appears in print on 11th Jan 2019, on Page A19 of the New York edition with the title: Insurer Drops Discrimination Claims Over H.I.V. Drug. Order Reprints

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