By Lemor Abrams

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — California’s top insurance cop is going after insurers who are supposed to cover people for life, disability or longterm care.

“Just this last year we returned over $80 million to consumers about complaints they had over their insurance companies,” said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.

But now he says those companies may be denying coverage to gay men because they take Truvada to protect themselves against HIV.

His investigation was triggered by an article published this week by the New York Times. It reports, various insurers around the country had denied policies to gay men who took the drugs, to avoid catching HIV through sex.

“I don’t have a specific example here in California yet, but we have a very large gay population in California, we have a very large life insurance and long-term care market, and if this is occurring, I want it stopped now,” he said.

Michael Eble is on Truvada, and knows many like him.

“I think everybody that does participate in high-risk scenarios should be on it,” he said.

But the Times report found that to get insurance, some men even stopped taking the drugs.

Why would these companies deny insurance for a medicine that’s deemed to be preventative?

“Well, that’s one question we’ll be asking them. Are they doing this? Why are they doing this? And we’ll be comparing if they are doing it to California law which protects people from discrimination based on sexual orientation,” he said.

The investigation could take months.

For now, the insurance commissioner is encouraging any Californians who believe they may have been denied coverage because of the medicine, to contact the agency.

If you feel like you’ve been denied coverage, contact the state insurance commissioner’s office at 1-800-927-4357 or visit Insurance.CA.Gov

(Editor’s note: A previous version of this story misquoted Insurance Commissioner Jones about money returned to consumers. The quote has since been corrected.)

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