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

August 31, 2020

Sacramento, Calif.- On Sunday night, the California State Legislature approved SB 1255 authored by Senator Lena Gonzalez (D- Long Beach) and the Senate Committee on Insurance. The measure, also known as The Equal Insurance HIV Act, now heads to the Governor’s desk for signature. If signed into law, The Equal Insurance HIV Act would end the unjust practice of insurance companies discriminating against HIV-positive individuals.

The Senate voted 39-0 in concurrence after the Assembly’s vote of 63-0 on Sunday night to pass The Equal Insurance HIV Act, which promotes equity and access by prohibiting insurance companies from denying life and disability income insurance coverage based solely on an individual’s HIV status.

“I am very grateful for the support of my Senate and Assembly colleagues on this critical legislation. I must especially thank Senate Committee on Insurance Chair, Susan Rubio, for allowing me to continue with this policy under their Committee’s omnibus bill. I am also incredibly proud of the work and support of California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and Equality California as sponsors of this important piece of legislation,” said Sen. Lena Gonzalez. “This is a huge step to ensure that Californians living with HIV and their families have equal access to life and disability income insurance coverage.”

As a co-sponsor of The Equal Insurance HIV Act, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, said: "With HIV-positive individuals living longer, healthier lives than before, we need to end discrimination when it comes to accessing life and disability income insurance to protect themselves and their loved ones. I thank Senator Lena Gonzalez for authoring SB 1255, which will finally give the same insurance rights to people living with HIV that others have."

“No one should be denied the security of life or disability income insurance because of their HIV status,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur. “Thanks to modern medicine, people living with HIV lead happy, healthy lives — it’s time for our laws to keep up with the science. This legislation is a critical step toward eliminating stigma against people living with HIV and finally ending the epidemic. We are deeply grateful to Senator Gonzalez and Commissioner Lara for championing this issue."