There was a time, not so many years ago, when getting life insurance with HIV/AIDS would’ve been impossible. I’m not going to lie – it still isn’t easy – but it’s not impossible either.
There have been many new breakthroughs on the HIV/AIDS front, and life expectancies are increasing significantly.
What’s more, new treatments and therapies are coming out all the time, creating brighter prospects.
Life insurance companies have been slow to respond to these changes, but they are gradually moving toward providing more coverage.
The “secrets” are to know how the industry views HIV/AIDS, how to apply for coverage, and where to find the life insurance companies that will be most receptive.
What is HIV/AIDS?
HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, is the virus that causes acquired auto immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS.
HIV is most commonly spread through unprotected sex or sharing of hypodermic needles. It gradually weakens the victim’s ability to fight infection and is typically diagnosed by HIV testing.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 1.1 million Americans have AIDS. But more significantly, the incidence of new AIDS cases has stabilized in recent years.
The CDC further reports that there were 15,807 deaths among people with diagnosed HIV in the United States in 2016, though it adds the caveat that “these deaths may be due to any cause.”
Symptoms of HIV can include headache, fever and swollen lymph nodes. However, medications are now available that can help suppress the virus.
They can also help prevent the spread of HIV and either delay or prevent AIDS. In fact, there are now more than 30 medications available for the treatment of HIV in the US.
There is no known cure for HIV, but regular testing, use of daily medication and other therapies, can control the virus, and slow its effects for many years.
Types of HIV
There are two types of HIV diagnoses which can have an impact upon your life insurance options.
HIV negative is the name given when you may have been exposed to HIV, but the virus has not yet shown up on an HIV test.
This is because it can take several months – referred to as the window period – between contracting the virus and when a test can detect it. The window varies based on the test performed, but also from one person to another.
You are HIV positive when the existence of the virus is confirmed by a test. In most cases, follow-up testing will be performed. But with proper treatment, a person who is HIV-positive can live a normal, healthy life.
How Life Insurance Companies View HIV/AIDS
Fortunately, HIV/AIDS has become much more treatable in recent decades, and the survival rates have expanded dramatically.
In fact, at least among young people, those who are HIV positive and receiving proper treatment have nearly the same life expectancy as someone who is HIV negative.
Unfortunately, life insurance companies have been slow to respond to the improvement in the prognosis of the disease. As a result, only a handful of companies provide coverage.
Like any health condition, HIV/AIDS is considered a pre-existing condition, which will have a material effect on your lifespan.
Age is another important factor. Some companies prefer younger applicants, such as those under 50. But there are others who prefer applicants over 50.
Generally, the younger you are, the more affordable and accessible life insurance will be, though.
Other Health Conditions
The existence of additional health issues is always a factor when you have a chronic medical condition.
But insurance companies will be looking most closely at a history of illness that could accelerate the HIV/AIDS process. These can include hepatitis B or C, or history of cancer.
Lifestyle will also be an important consideration. If you’re living a generally normal life, including working regularly and engaging in typical activities, it will work in your favor.
A normal life serves as confirmation that the disease is under control and being properly managed.
The Stage of the Disease
In underwriting a life insurance application with HIV/AIDS, an insurance company will consider the stage of the disease. The disease advances at a very slow rate, and in three distinct stages.
The first stage produces flulike symptoms and is generally temporary.
In the second stage, you can go many years with no symptoms whatsoever. But in the third stage, the immune system is seriously compromised, creating a high vulnerability to other illnesses, like pneumonia.
The stage of the disease can determine what type of policy you may be eligible for. For example, you may be able to get traditional life insurance from certain companies if you are in the first or second stages and your condition is well-managed.
Each offers a low death benefit, and is relatively expensive on a per thousand basis. But failing the availability of traditional life insurance, these are options that are definitely worth considering.
How to Apply for Life Insurance with HIV/AIDS
Properly managing your condition is the most important effort you can make. You should be working with a doctor who specializes in HIV/AIDS.
You should also be undergoing regular testing, and faithfully participating in any required treatment therapies.
Management of your overall health is also crucial to getting the best rates.
That means maintaining a proper weight-to-height ratio, avoiding smoking and excess alcohol consumption, treating any temporary or ongoing illnesses or conditions, eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and avoiding hazardous behaviors.
Remember, insurance companies don’t focus entirely on a specific health condition. They’ll look at your overall health, including activities and other conditions. It’s important to make sure all else is as well as possible, apart from HIV/AIDS.
Finally, never fail to disclose HIV/AIDS or any other health condition. All life insurance companies will perform a detailed investigation of your previous medical history and ultimately discover the condition.
It’s best to fully disclose your condition to lower the likelihood of your application being declined, as well as to find the best insurance carrier available.
Choosing the Right Life Insurance Company is Critical
Apart from proactively managing your condition, along with your overall health and lifestyle, choosing the right life insurance company is the single most important step you can take to getting a policy when you have HIV/AIDS.
Having a policy through an employer is a major plus, since your acceptance into the plan is automatic. And if you already have a private life insurance policy, you should do whatever’s necessary to keep it in force.
It’s much easier to keep an existing policy when you have HIV/AIDS, than it is to get a new one.
But under the assumption you don’t have an existing policy or an employer-sponsored plan, you’ll need to work with the relatively small number of companies that offer coverage for HIV/AIDS consumers.
When you have a serious health condition, like HIV/AIDS, you need to have an insurance expert in your corner. That’s what we are, here at BestLifeQuote. Although finding life insurance with HIV/AIDS might seem daunting, we can provide expert assistance to get you the affordable coverage you need.