For Immediate Release - August 15, 2014

Division of Insurance Updates the Regulation for Informed Consent by AIDS Patients in the Purchase of Insurance

BOSTON - August 15, 2014 - The Massachusetts Division of Insurance has announced its recent update of a regulation regarding how consumers’ personal medical information may be collected and applied by health and life insurers.

The revised regulation, “The Use of AIDS-Related Information for Life and Health Insurance and Informed Consent” (211 CMR 36.00), was originally developed to ensure that individuals who seek or obtain life and health insurance coverage (including disability insurance coverage) are not unfairly discriminated against, and are fully informed of the extent to which AIDS-related information is permitted to be used by insurers.  The regulation further addresses the implications of AIDS-related testing and is designed to ensure that the confidentiality of such information is maintained by insurers, insurance producers and those persons or entities that act on their behalf in connection with insurance transactions. 

The original regulation was promulgated before effective drug therapy for the virus that causes AIDS was available and before certain state and federal privacy laws were enacted.  These recent amendments to the regulation update language and terminology to conform to current standards and advances in medical science.

“The Division is committed to doing all it can to ensure that consumers are knowledgeable about their rights when they enter into insurance purchases,” stated Commissioner of Insurance Joseph G. Murphy in announcing the amended regulation.  “We also want to be certain that our regulations reflect best practices in a fast-moving regulatory environment,” Murphy concluded.

The revised regulation, which the Division filed with the Secretary of the Commonwealth on August 15, 2014, can be found on the Division’s website, www.mass.gov/doi.  It is anticipated that the revised regulation will be formally promulgated by the Secretary of the Commonwealth within the next two weeks.  Consumers with insurance questions can also reach the Division’s toll-free line at (877) 563-4467. 

The Division of Insurance is a regulatory agency within the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.  Find the Division online at www.mass.gov/doi, or on Twitter @MassDOI.

The Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation is committed to protecting consumers through consumer advocacy and education, and also works to ensure that the businesses its agencies regulate treat all Massachusetts consumers fairly.  Follow the Office at its blog, on Facebook and on Twitter @Mass_Consumer.

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