Insurers can’t deny cover for HIV+ patients, says IRDAI

IRDAI has said that HIV-positive individuals cannot be denied insurance cover, unless supported by actuarial studies. The regulator has asked insurers to stop discriminating against persons with HIV/AIDS.

IRDAI has made this mandatory after ‘The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) (Prevention and control) Act, 2017’ came into force from September 10. The Act bars insurance companies from discriminating against HIV-positive individuals. However, most insurance companies have stayed away from launching products for HIV/AIDS patients due to pricing-related issues.

“If the immunity is low due to a person being HIV-positive, treatment expenses go up several times. The cost of tests and duration of stay in the hospital for HIV-positive patients would be much more compared to regular patients. That is why insurance companies are wary about offering cover for persons with compromised immunity,” a senior industry official said.

G Srinivasan former New India Assurance Company CMD said, “The problem is that insurers do not have enough data to design a cover for HIV-positive patients. We can offer coverage for early-stage HIV-positive patients with certain caveats and conditions.”