How To Get Affordable Life Insurance When You're HIV Positive
Written By Cameron McDowell
Nov 30, 2021
8 mins read
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Getting access to life insurance isn't impossible for people with HIV. Many companies now recognize HIV-positive people can still be good candidates for some types of term or whole life insurance policies.
In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about life insurance for HIV patients. Read on as we outline the most popular options and answer all your burning questions.
Can You Get Life Insurance If You're HIV Positive?
Generally, life insurance companies have strict examination requirements before issuing a policy to an individual. Every person who wants life insurance will have to go through an evaluation process, called underwriting, to determine their approximate life expectancy. People who have a high risk of passing away within the coverage period are put in a higher risk class and are charged higher premiums.
Due to advances in medicine, people with HIV (PLHIV) can live relatively normal lives and can have a life expectancy that's comparable to those who don't have preexisting conditions. However, the application process won't be 100% the same as those who are not diagnosed with HIV.
Keep in mind that it's never a good idea to withhold information about your HIV status from life insurance companies. If you do this, the insurer can cancel your policy or deny your beneficiaries the death benefit after you pass away.
Despite this, it's good to know that life insurance companies have products designed for people with HIV. This allows you to get coverage and provide your beneficiaries with a financial cushion after you pass away.
Underwriting Factors For HIV Life Insurance
If you apply for a life insurance policy, you will have to answer a series of questions about your health and take a medical exam. However, the process can be a little more extensive for people living with HIV.
Here are a few of the underwriting factors that your insurer will take into account if you have HIV/AIDS:
Current Stage of HIV/AIDS Infection
Usually, a life insurance company will want to know how far the illness has progressed. HIV or AIDS usually has three stages:
Acute primary infection: This initial stage is characterized by flu-like symptoms, such as fever, rash, and muscle pain. This is usually the time people get tested and diagnosed.
Asymptomatic stage: After a person gets diagnosed and receives antiretroviral therapy, they may stop showing any symptoms. At this stage, you may also have an undetectable viral load, which means that you've reduced the infection to a level that it can no longer show up on tests. This stage may last two years or more.
Symptomatic HIV infection: This stage is characterized by a weakened immune system. It makes people with HIV and AIDS more prone to getting pneumonia, Hepatitis B, or other serious illnesses. If you are at this stage, then it's unlikely that you can get traditional whole or term life insurance coverage.
General Health Of The HIV/AIDS Patient
Life insurance companies may require a written statement from a physician regarding your current state of health. They may also ask your HIV clinic or team to provide you with a statement. Keep in mind that a history of drug use may prevent you from getting coverage as a PLHIV.
Having these medical records will allow the insurer to assess if you're able to work, keep a job, and complete activities of daily living – all of which can lower your rates.
Current HIV/AIDS Treatment
Life insurance companies need to know that you're currently taking antiretroviral medication to manage the illness. This medication will help you have a high CD4 count and prevent HIV complications. They will also want to know if you've responded well to treatments.
If you can show proof that you have had a stable health history for the last five years despite being HIV positive, you may be considered for a term or whole life insurance policy.
Other Health Conditions
A person infected with HIV can have a weakened immune system. This puts them at a higher risk of contracting other serious illnesses, like Hepatitis B and C. Life insurance companies will want to know if you have other conditions as a result of being immunocompromised.
Age is always an underwriting factor, regardless of whether you're HIV positive or not. The older you are, the more expensive your premiums will be.
HIV Life Insurance Coverage Options
Not all insurance products are available to people diagnosed with HIV. Here are some of the types of life insurance you can consider.
Final Expense Insurance
Final expense insurance is a type of whole life insurance, which means it provides coverage until death. It's designed to help your family cover your funeral costs and other related expenses, like outstanding medical bills. Usually, final expense life insurance policies have a maximum coverage amount of $25,000 to $50,000.
Since it’s designed to cover end-of-life expenses, this type of policy is usually advertised to people aged 50 and up. Under final expense insurance, you'll find the following categories.
Simplified-Issue Life Insurance
This is one of the best whole life insurance options for people living with HIV but who are in good health. During the application process, you might be asked about your viral load, current medications, medical history, and other preexisting health conditions. An insurance company may deny you coverage based on your answers, but if you do get approved, you can usually get coverage at cheaper rates.
Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance
As the name suggests, guaranteed issue life insurance is given to anyone, regardless of their current state of health. You will not be required to answer health questions or take a medical exam to qualify for this type of whole life insurance policy.
While they're easily available, it's better to check first if you qualify for other types of insurance since guaranteed issue policies usually come with high life insurance rates. Guaranteed issue policies also have a limited face amount of up to around $25,000.
Lastly, guaranteed-issue policies may come with a waiting period of up to two years. If you pass away within this timeframe, your family may not be entitled to receive any benefits from the life insurance company.
Critical Illness Life Insurance
Critical illness life insurance is designed for people with HIV or other chronic illnesses. While you might still be required to take a medical exam, the results won't increase the premiums you'll pay compared to other types of policies. Look for a company or agent that specializes in offering critical illness coverage for people living with HIV since they usually offer the best premium rates.
Group Life Insurance
Employers usually provide group life insurance coverage as a benefit for their employees, even if they're AIDS patients. This is a type of term life insurance that covers an entire organization or group of people instead of individuals.
While this is the easiest and most affordable way for you to get insured, you should remember that your coverage will expire if you change jobs or retire.
Voluntary Life Insurance
This is an add-on to the group life insurance coverage you can get from your employer. However, since this is voluntary, your employer won't be paying the premiums. You will be responsible for paying an extra amount to get voluntary life insurance coverage.
Voluntary life insurance allows you to increase your policy's face amount or purchase a separate policy for your family. Usually, you can get approved for voluntary life insurance even without submitting evidence of insurability, like your medical records.
If you're required to answer health questions in order to get voluntary group life coverage, you can also submit the answers directly to the insurer. You are not obliged to disclose your status to your employer.
Tips On Getting Life Insurance For People With HIV
With the right information, you can find an insurance company that offers you the coverage you need. Here are some tips for getting life insurance for people living with HIV.
Work With A Life Insurance Agency
It's hard enough to find life insurance on your own, but it's even more difficult if you're HIV positive. With the help of a knowledgeable life insurance agent, though, you can get an affordable term or permanent life insurance policy. They can connect you with the best life insurance companies that cater specifically to people with HIV.
Stay Healthy And Maintain Treatment
Staying healthy should be a priority for everyone, but it’s especially important for people who are diagnosed with HIV. If insurers see that you're able to maintain a high CD4 count, they might offer you better life insurance rates.
It's best to look for life insurance agents and apply for a policy as soon as possible since the entire process can take a few months. Delaying the process can make getting coverage more complicated, especially if your health declines.
FAQs About Getting Life Insurance With HIV
Applying for a policy can be confusing, especially if you are HIV positive. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions on buying life insurance with HIV.
What if I'm not asked any health questions during my application?
You are not required to disclose your HIV status if life insurance carriers do not ask about them. However, it's important to be truthful if you do get asked this question.
Will I be asked about how I got infected with HIV?
Life insurance companies should not be asking you how you got HIV or AIDs. They should also not ask you about your sexual orientation during the application process.
Will I need to take an HIV test when applying for life insurance?
Yes. Depending on the type of policy you apply for, an insurer may ask you to take an HIV test. People who disclose their HIV-positive status during application can skip this test.
I got a test and it came out positive. Will my application be denied?
Not necessarily. Some insurers can postpone your application and ask you to wait 6 to 12 months to see how the diagnosis affects your health. They'll also wait to see how well you respond to treatment. If all goes well, they might still issue a policy, though they will likely charge higher premiums.
What if I'm diagnosed after getting a policy?
Any life insurance policy will still be valid if you were diagnosed with HIV after being approved – your premiums will not rise.
Being HIV positive doesn't mean you can no longer provide your loved ones with adequate financial protection. Depending on how well you manage the illness, you can still get an affordable life insurance policy.
If you need more information regarding this matter, get in touch with Wesley Insurance, LLC. We'll help you find insurers that offer the best life insurance coverage, regardless of your health issues.