Senate Passes “The Equal Insurance HIV Act” Enacting Anti-discrimination Protections

June 24, 2020

Sacramento, Calif.- Today, the California State Senate approved SB 1255 by Senator Lena Gonzalez (D- Long Beach) and the Senate Committee on Insurance. Section one of SB 1255, The Equal Insurance HIV Act, by Senator Lena Gonzalez and co-sponsored by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and Equality California, ends the unjust practice of insurance companies discriminating against HIV-positive individuals, keeps up to date with medical advancements and ensures coverage for affected families during these unprecedented times. SB 1255 promotes equity and access by prohibiting insurance companies from denying life and disability income insurance coverage based solely on an individual’s HIV status.

“People living with HIV and their families deserve equal access to life and disability income insurance coverage,” said Senator Lena Gonzalez.  “I am so proud of being able to move this policy forward under SB 1255 and thank my colleagues for their support. HIV is no longer a death sentence, it is time to end the stigma associated with being HIV-positive and update outdated laws so they reflect the advances in treatment.”

“No one should be defined by their HIV status and no one should be denied crucial insurance protections solely because of that status,” said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. “I thank Senator Lena Gonzalez for her continued commitment to end this discrimination, in partnership with the Senate Insurance Committee, and the Senate for supporting this legislation to ensure people living with HIV have equal access to life and disability income insurance to plan for their and their families’ futures.”

"Thank you to the members of the Senate who took steps today to protect Californians living with HIV from insurance discrimination,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Chavez Zbur. “We know that people living with HIV lead happy, healthy lives and it's time for our state to keep up with science and end this blatant injustice. We are grateful to Senator Lena Gonzalez and Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara for their leadership on this critical issue."

The bill received unanimous support on the Senate Floor and now goes to the state Assembly for its consideration.