Insurance firms' bias against HIV + people under HC scanner

The denial of health insurance cover to HIV positive or AIDS-inflicted persons by various insurance firms today came under the scanner of the Delhi High Court which sought the Centre's stand on the issue.

On a public interest litigation filed by a doctor questioning the insurance firms' policy to avoid HIV positive persons, a division bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna issued notices to the Ministry of Health, the Insurance Regulatory development Authority (IRDA), and the National AIDS Control Authority (NACO).

The bench sought their replies by July 27 and fixed July 27 to hear the matter next. Filing a PIL through counsel Tariq Adeeb, petitioner Rajiv Sharma pointed out that the government has a statutory duty to provide equal treatment to all citizens "but a small section of the society did not get equal right so far as health is concerned."

Adeeb said the existing policies under the IRDA Act is discriminatory as the people living with HIV/AIDS were deprived of getting any benefit under the health insurance policy.

He said the policy providers give benefit to the people suffering from all other major diseases but the insurance regulatory authority has failed to take any step to grant health cover to HIV positive or AIDS-inflicted people.

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