HIV Life Insurance Options

No longer a death sentence, being diagnosed with HIV can mean a fairly long life, if a chronic condition requiring a number of daily medications. Rather famously Irvin “Magic” Johnson announced himself to be HIV-positive in 1991. But thanks to medical breakthroughs in the treatment of the disease, he has gone on, not only to survive for a great length, but to prosper and expand his impact as an entrepreneur and sports celebrity figure.

He is not alone. Because of modern medicine, there are many people with HIV who are living productive lives, and who are seeking to protect their legacies and loved ones just as anyone would. And for them, that means life insurance, among other things. But is it really available to those living with HIV?

In a word, absolutely. There are some limitations, however. And for those with HIV, it is particularly important that they pay their premiums on time or else risk seeing their contract be canceled on them.

Lowered Risks of Death for Those with HIV

In the early days of the HIV scare, there simply wasn’t enough information available for insurance companies to assess the long-term impact on those who had contracted the virus. As a result, the risk analysis tables couldn’t be considered accurately let alone filled in. But since then, much has been learned about the disease and its ramifications for longevity.

A study performed by the Dutch Association of Insurers remarkably announced on March 15, 2002, that “HIV is no more of a risk factor for insurers than someone with diabetes.” While a startling admission to the average person’s mind, it was a positive step toward making it possible for the industry to insure those with HIV. Risk tables show those with HIV to be at the same risk of death due to their condition as those with diabetes and heart disease.

Plans for Those with HIV

As a result of increased information and increasingly effective medical care for those with HIV, coverage has now become available! However, it is imperative that those with HIV disclose the condition when applying for a plan. If not, should the condition be discovered at a later date, the contract would be canceled and all premiums paid forfeited. (However, if you contract HIV after your plan is issued, your coverage cannot be canceled based on your HIV positive status.)

4 Options to Consider

There are four popular options for those with HIV:

  1. Guaranteed Issue - While there are restrictions on these policies - like an unusually long waiting period of 2 to 3 years, before a death benefit kicks in - it is indeed available. If the insured dies during that waiting period, then there is no death benefit paid out to a beneficiary. In such cases, the premiums are not refunded. During that waiting period, the insured is still required to pay the premiums. If the insured doesn’t outlive the waiting period, the policy would pay nothing to the beneficiary. Benefits on this type of agreement are almost always limited to from $5,000 to $25,000 worth of coverage. Compared to the level of benefit and the cost of similar policies for those without HIV, it can be pretty expensive by comparison. The median cost for a policy can be as much as $50 per month. Check the specifics of any offering for details.
  2. Employer-Sponsored - This is coverage that is offered to all of an employers staff. There are typically no restrictions due to health, and often no medical exams. By virtue of being an employee of the company, you are covered. If you have the option of getting this type of insurance, this might be the most cost effective option someone with HIV can get. And it is sometimes possible to maintain this kind of coverage after employment there ceases. It is called converting group life to individual life, and must be done within a certain time limit stated in the policy. (Typically a month after employment ends.)
  3. Group - Like employer-sponsored plans, an HIV-positive person would qualify jut by being a member of the group. Instead of a group of employees for a particular company, the group is defined by membership in an association, a club, or perhaps a labor union. Credit unions or other clubs might also qualify someone.
  4. Individual - This is the rarest offering for those with HIV. But there are some insurance companies that have chosen to offer individual options to those with HIV and other high-risk diseases. There are some strong restrictions on the age and extent of the virus, as well as restrictions on the amount of coverage – and rather high denial rates, based on the extent of disease.Check with the individual companies or with an insurance broker. Among the companies that carry individual plans for those with HIV are: Mutual of Omaha New York Life Guarantee Trust Life and Physician’s Life.

Now that HIV isn’t perceived as the death sentence it once was, plans aren’t out of the question for those with HIV. While there are restrictions, it cannot be denied that there are health risks and longevity issues associated with the illness. Nonetheless, if you have HIV or know someone who does, be comforted and encouraged. You or they can probably qualify for protection at some level.