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The state Court of Appeals one Tuesday struck down a state rule forbidding health-insurance companies from considering HIV test results when deciding on applications.

It unanimously affirmed lower-court decisions against the state Insurance Department regulation. It had banned companies from considering the results of blood tests for the human immunodeficiency virus in deciding insurability for small group and individual plans. A person testing positive for HIV is considered likely to develop symptoms of AIDS.

The department rule, adopted in 1987, was challenged by the insurance industry before it could take effect. While it has been tied up in litigation, insurance companies have been allowed to take HIV test results into account when making decisions, department spokesman Kevin Foley said. "We're disappointed in the decision," he said. ". . . We're going to review our policies and continue to look for ways to make sure the health-insurance system is as inclusive as possible."

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