In the past, it was impossible for people who are diagnosed with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) to find and buy life insurance coverage. After modern medical advancements and amendments in various state laws, there are now new insurance options that are specifically tailored and offered to HIV patients.
However, traditional life insurance products like permanent and term life policies are still not readily available for most of those individuals. Moreover, coverage of new policies for HIV+ people is usually much lower compared to the amount of coverage in traditional life insurance products. Logically, premiums of such products, if available, could be relatively higher compared to regular insurance policies.
Conditions for HIV insurance underwriting
Because insurance for a HIV+ individual is still considered as unusual products, underwriting of such special policies is also usually subjected to the following guidelines, which may be difficult, if not impossible to meet:
- Diagnosis of HIV done at least 3 years prior to policy application
- Consistent administration of anti-retroviral treatment for at least 3 years prior to application
- Having normal CD4 cell count (a high volume of CD4 cells in a blood test indicates a strong immune system)
- Non-infection for Hepatitis C, no intravenous drug use, and no symptom of advancement to acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), which in turn signals terminal stage of HIV infection.
Types of insurance for HIV+ individuals
For HIV patients, there are now special insurers that offer specific products customized just for them. But such individuals could still consider several life insurance coverage options in the following forms:
Group employment life policy: This could be the easiest option as this insurance product is often offered by employers as part of employee benefit packages. However, this insurance coverage lasts only until the term of employment.
High-risk insurance policy: There are specific insurance firms that provide coverage specifically for what the industry considers as high-risk individuals who have been diagnosed with several health conditions, including HIV infection.
Guarantee issue life: A form of general insurance, this policy is available to just about everyone, regardless of his/her health status. HIV patients might feel relieved that this policy does not require medical analysis and records. The main setback is that it provides limited insurance coverage despite its hefty premium rates.
Critical illness life policy: There are specialized life insurance products that are specifically customized for people who are diagnosed with critical illnesses, these days including HIV. Interestingly, there are insurers that require a medical examination, while there are some companies that do not. Coverage of policies also varies from one insurance firm to another.
Other helpful tips
It could be difficult and more expensive to buy life insurance for people with HIV. That is why it is always advisable for such individuals to keep their existing life policies (those purchased before HIV diagnosis) in force. At this point, letting such products lapse is not a good idea as getting a similar coverage given the situation would almost be impossible.
One may opt not to disclose about HIV infection if he/she is not asked by the insurer to do so. However, a policy applicant must disclose the condition during a medical exam for insurance covering HIV patients. Remember that insurance policies generally observe a two-year contestability clause, which means an insurer could cancel a policy or claim if falsification of information during application period is proven.