People across the globe today are paying hefty sums of money to access health insurance and life insurance. However, these privileges may not be easily accessible to individuals diagnosed with HIV. The truth is that HIV patients may encounter many difficulties when looking for an insurance plan since some companies might not be willing to provide life insurance for such individuals.
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However, with the changes in state laws and medical advancements, numerous life policy options are availed to HIV patients. However, if you have been diagnosed with HIV and need a life insurance cover to protect your family financially, it would be a good idea to look at the insurance options at your disposal.
If you’ve been having trouble getting life coverage since you are not aware of the insurance policies available, or do not know what is required to qualify, do not worry because this piece will uncover every detail of it.
Table of Content
- The Basics of HIV:
- Astounding HIV Statistics in the United States
- Why is it a Challenge for HIV Patients to Get Life Insurance?
- Getting a Life Insurance Coverage if You Have HIV
- Life Insurance Policies Available
- Should You Disclose About Your HIV Status?
- Underwriting Factors for an HIV Patient
- HIV Life Insurance Companies
The Basics of HIV:
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) robs the body of the ability to defend itself from infections and creates a condition that leads to death in almost all people infected. HIV is the precursor for developing AIDS, and the risk factors are very dire. Without proper treatment, HIV will develop into AIDS, and the health complications are such that illness and death are virtually assured.
To be more vulnerable to disease and infection means that even the common cold may have serious debilitating effects as the body’s defenses have been removed.
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Fortunately, thanks to a series of drug combinations that keeps the virus in check, people with HIV live normal lives and operate mostly under normal risk factors, meaning they may live as long as anyone else.
However, this all depends on taking the medications regularly. However, the number of new HIV cases has dropped precipitously since the late 1980s, so getting life insurance with HIV is now possible.
Astounding HIV Statistics in the United States
HIV and AIDS are not only a persistent problem in the United States but also in many other countries across the globe. And while great progress has been made to prevent and treat this ailment, a lot still needs to be done.
According to recent research, it is estimated that about 1.1 million individuals in the United States are currently living with HIV, while 15% of this number are unaware they are infected. And of the total population living with the virus, close to half are virally suppressed, and in 2016, there were about 40,000 HIV diagnoses.
In 2016, it was also found that the Southern states were responsible for more than half of all new diagnoses made in the United States despite comprising only 38% of the total U.S. population. Despite comprising only 12% of the entire population, African Americans made up 44% of the total HIV diagnoses in 2016.
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In 2016, it was also found that bisexual and gay men accounted for more than 83% of the total HIV diagnoses among males despite comprising less than 5% of the entire male population. Nearly a quarter of the total HIV-infected population in the U.S. is women, with 19% of the total diagnoses being accounted for by women. Most of the infections were attributed to injection drug use and heterosexual sex.
Why is it a Challenge for HIV Patients to Get Life Insurance?
For people living with HIV, getting a life insurance cover is not the only challenge they face. For many years, most people diagnosed with HIV and AIDS have been discriminated against, particularly because this disease is largely associated with homosexuality.
And although homosexuals are currently being accepted in the community, some stigma still exists toward these individuals. Whether in terms of life insurance, employment, or daily activities, HIV patients often have to deal with discrimination.
Another reason why it could be a challenge for HIV patients to get life insurance is that even after diagnoses, close to half of these individuals do not receive the proper care, probably due to lack of access to the right medical facilities, lack of information, or minimal awareness.
And while life insurance policies and government-funded programs could be available, very few patients can access it.
Getting a Life Insurance Coverage if You Have HIV
If you are living with HIV, finding an affordable life insurance cover will be daunting. Fortunately, more companies are offering life policies tailored to such patients. Generally speaking, conventional forms of life insurance, like permanent and term life policies, aren’t readily available for most HIV patients. However, new policy types have been created for such individuals.
The coverage in most new policies is incredibly lower than what’s available in traditional policies, an aspect you should always bear in mind.
And if you had bought a life policy before being diagnosed with HIV, it is advisable to keep your policy in force without letting it lapse. Letting your policy lapse means finding such coverage in the future will be more than challenging, if not impossible.
Life Insurance Policies Available
It should be known that HIV limits the choices one can make between the various life insurance policies available. Here are the most popular options if you are living with HIV and would like to buy life insurance.
1. Group Employment Life Insurance
Most employers are known to provide group life insurance for their employees, so it would be a good idea to go for an employer who offers life insurance as part of their benefits package. With this policy, the death benefit available is usually about $10,000 if you’re an employee and about $5,000 if you are just a domestic partner or spouse. And if you’re working for a small employer, you would negotiate for an increase in the death benefit.
2. Critical Illness Life Insurance
HIV is often classified under critical illness, and companies providing life coverage could provide a fair premium for anyone suffering from HIV/AIDS. Some insurers will require you to take a medical exam, while others will not require you to take a medical exam. The policy coverage options, in this case, will vary from one company to the other.
3. Guaranteed Issue Policy
This is arguably the easiest policy option for anyone to purchase since there are no questions regarding the individual’s health status. One aspect of this policy option is that it offers limited life insurance coverage, and no medical history questions are involved. This policy often has a higher price tag because of the higher risk pool.
Should You Disclose About Your HIV Status?
You should disclose your health status to the insurance company if they request this information for coverage purposes. And if the company does not inquire about your status or any other health-related issues, you do not have to share the information.
However, it is important to be completely truthful about all the health-related questions they ask you during the medical exam. Most life insurance policies usually have a contestability agreement that extends to 24 months after buying the policy. During this time, the insurer could cancel the policy or challenge any insurance claim you make if they discover you falsified information regarding your medical condition.
Underwriting Factors for an HIV Patient
There are several factors that life insurance companies will consider when determining the amount of premium to be paid by HIV patients.
How Advanced is the Disease?
HIV infection normally has three stages, and the process is usually relatively slow. Some flu-like symptoms normally portray the first stage; the second is the longest and could last a decade with no symptoms, while the final stage is when the body’s immune system weakens. Other illnesses like pneumonia typically cause symptoms.
When calculating premiums, an insurance company will want to consider how advanced the disease is. Insurance companies are also aware that medicine has not advanced, and there are medications that can help slow the progress of this disease.
What’s the Age of the Applicant?
Some companies that consider HIV patients for insurance coverage will require that the patient be between 21 and 49 years, others will prefer patients who have attained at least 45 years, and for others, you must be more than 50 years old. For guaranteed and group life insurance, age mostly affects the life rates rather than the underwriting.
What’s the Patient’s General Health?
An insurance company will also seek to know how active the patient is in their daily activities and whether they can work or hold a job. Most companies will want to see an individual who is not bedridden and can still function and live an active lifestyle.
HIV Life Insurance Companies
For quite a long time, HIV patients couldn’t acquire a life policy since few companies offered this kind of coverage. Prudential was one of the few companies offering life insurance for HIV patients. In most cases, their policies last between 10 and 15 years.
Currently, numerous life insurers provide coverage for HIV patients, including:
- John Hancock
- American National
With various life insurance carriers offering coverage, there is a higher chance that an HIV patient will secure a policy with a better death benefit than the guaranteed issue policy.
Life insurance for HIV patients helps serve two purposes:
1. Providing coverage for burial and funeral costs
2. Providing financial legacy for those left behind so they can easily settle any medical debts accrued before death.
The wisest way to avail the best life insurance rate for HIV-positive people is to request free quotes and compare prices. Don’t just hop into the policy first offered. You have every possible way to bring down the rate when you compare.