Equality California: Governor Newsom Signs “The Equal Insurance HIV Act” Enacting Anti-discrimination Protections in State Law
Samuel Garrett-Pate, Equality California
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Today, Governor Newsom signed SB 1255 –The Equal Insurance HIV Act by Senator Lena Gonzalez (D- Long Beach) and the Senate Committee on Insurance. The Equal Insurance HIV Act will end the unjust practice of insurance companies discriminating against HIV-positive individuals. For more than thirty years insurers have been allowed to deny life and disability income insurance coverage based solely on a positive HIV test and this bill now signed into law is a significant step forward to reflect the advancements in medical treatments for people living with HIV and to ensure HIV positive individuals and their families have access to life and disability income insurance.
“The Equal Insurance HIV Act is a great accomplishment for our state in securing access to critical life and disability income insurance for everyone regardless of HIV status,” said Sen. Lena Gonzalez. “I thank Governor Newsom for signing this important legislation into law. Ending this type of discrimination was a joint effort with the support of the Senate Committee on Insurance and the hard work of co-sponsors Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and Equality California and the incredible support from The Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation, LGBTQ centers and organizations advocating for the rights of people living with HIV. Now more than ever individuals living with HIV and their families need access to life and disability income insurance. With The Equal Insurance HIV Act, California is now looking to the future and ending discriminatory laws to echo the fact that living with HIV is a possibility.”
“Governor Newsom’s signing of The Equal Insurance HIV Act means once and for all that HIV status will not be a barrier to protecting yourself and your loved ones through life and disability income insurance,” said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, who co-sponsored SB 1255. “I thank Sen. Lena Gonzalez for authoring this life-changing legislation that finally ends discrimination against HIV-positive individuals who are leading longer and healthier lives than before.”
“For far too long, California’s outdated laws have kept people living with HIV from getting the insurance coverage they need,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Chavez Zbur. “That’s why we are thrilled that Governor Newsom has signed The Equal Insurance HIV Act to protect Californians living with HIV from discrimination when accessing life and disability income insurance. We know that people living with HIV can live a long, healthy life and we are glad to see California’s law treat them with the respect they deserve. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Senator Lena Gonzalez and Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara for their tireless advocacy for this law and for all Californians living with HIV. And we are incredibly grateful to our partners at The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation for their public education support, as well.”
“The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation (ETAF) was pleased to join with Equality California and all the sponsors of The California Equal Insurance HIV Act to ensure there is no insurance discrimination against people living with HIV,” said Catherine Brown, Executive Director of The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation. “Following the legacy of our founder Elizabeth Taylor, our voice remains united with the HIV/AIDS community in the continued fight for legislative reform, social justice, equality and equity for all. We applaud Governor Newsom for signing this bill into law.”