“This is tantamount to penalizing applicants based on sexual orientation,” Ms. Vullo said. “Insurers cannot choose to deny coverage based on discriminatory reasons.”
She encouraged any New York State residents who believe they have been denied coverage because of PrEP to contact her agency, which oversees insurers doing business in New York.
Asked if other states planned similar action, she said she did not know but believed California regulators “will be aligned with me on this issue.”
Insurers often do not explain why they turn down an application, but regulators have the power to ask exactly what criteria they use, to rule some criteria invalid, and to demand the records of individual cases, said Richard Loconte, a spokesman for the department.
Bennett Klein, a Boston-based lawyer for GLAD (GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders), which is suing Mutual of Omaha for denying long-term-care insurance to a gay man taking Truvada, said the decision by New York State was “terrific.”
As news of his lawsuit spread, he said, he was contacted by men in various states saying they had experienced similar denials. He did not yet know of any other state taking action like New York’s, he added.