Best Life Insurance For HIV Positive Patients 2022
In 2020, there were 107, 200 cases of people infected with HIV of which 27% of those were unaware they had the condition.
A significant number of people think life insurance is unavailable to those suffering from HIV. The good news is getting life insurance cover is definitely still possible.
The cover might be a little higher when compared with a non-sufferer, but a competitive solution is within your reach.
Compare Life Insurance Quotes For people living with HIV – 60 Second Form
In light of the increases, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has worked in conjunction with leading charities in their field to produce a new Guide to Life Insurance for Those Living with HIV.
While the number of new cases has stabilised somewhat, so is the awareness of more people being tested, leading to diagnoses.
The organisations consulted were:
- HIV Scotland
- NAM Aidsmap
- National Aids Trust
- Terrence Higgins Trust
- Unusual Risks Mortgage & Insurance Services
Support and advice can be sought from any of the organisations listed above.
Clarity of Cover
The ABI created the guide to insurance for HIV due to a widespread belief that if you’re diagnosed with HIV, you can’t get life insurance cover. And for those who already had life insurance in place, many were cancelling their policy immediately following their diagnosis on the basis that they believed it to invalidate the policy. That can’t be further from the truth.
In fact, as it turns out…
If you already have HIV life insurance, you don’t even need to tell your insurer that you’re diagnosed with HIV. If you’re already insured before a diagnosis, your policy will provide protection. It’s only when you have cause to believe you have a medical condition and don’t disclose that during the application process for your life insurance that it will be invalidated.
HIV is treated the same as any other medical condition by insurers
Assessing the level of risk for HIV
The Consumer Insurance Act 2013 was introduced to provide consumers with clarity over what information they need to disclose to insurers. One of the main changes was a move away from voluntary disclosure by consumers and instead put the burden on insurers to ask the right questions to find out relevant information about people’s medical situations.
For that reason, know that when you’re answering questions either on the phone or on a paper or online application, honesty is imperative.
Insurers will use your responses alongside statistical data from other sources to determine a level of risk and offer HIV life insurance cover based on that or decline the cover if they feel the risk is too high. You will not be denied life insurance just because of an HIV diagnosis. If there is a denial, it’ll be due to a high level of risk, however, that could be six to twelve months after your application.
3 Levels of HIV Risk Categories
- Men who have sex with men (MSM). This has been the highest risk category for decades and continues to be today, with an estimated 45,000 cases of infections being those in the MSM category.
- The highest prevalence of new cases (MSM) in 2014 were aged 25 -44. 6% were over the age of 55. 55% of new diagnoses were in the London area.
- 81% of new MSM diagnosis’s were white
- 2% Black African
- 2% Black Caribbean
- 14% described as other/mixed race.
- 60% were born in the UK.
The second-largest risk category is Black African heterosexual males and females. Of the newly diagnosed cases of HIV, 55% were Black African heterosexual men and 62% of heterosexual women.
A third risk category is drug users or People Who Inject Drugs (PWID). This is the lowest risk category with stats from 2014 indicating just 150 cases total of new diagnoses due to sharing needles. While it is a low-risk category, it’s still going to be a risk factor that will be used when assessing your level of risk for life cover.
This will include reformed drug users who have used drugs in the past. Insurers will usually ask if there’s any history of substance abuse and if there is, it’s imperative they are made aware due to it being a risk which could void your claim if it’s not declared.
HIV screening and HIV life insurance
Insurers can use a range of screening tests to ensure they can assess the risk level adequately and quote appropriately. One of the ways they do this for HIV is to have you take an HIV test. This will be done by your family doctor, the results are treated with the strictest confidence, and the insurer covers the cost.
You will be asked to grant the insurance firm access to your medical records, which will also involve sharing the results of an HIV test with them.
There’s no obligation for an insurance company to notify you of a negative test. If you test positive though, your doctor will work with you to discuss treatment options, for which there are quite a few options available.
Your HIV life insurance application may be put on hold for six to twelve months. The aim of this is to establish how you respond to treatment. This won’t always happen as an insurer could give a quote based on a pre-existing medical condition. However, some may want to wait to assess how you respond to the treatment to get a better indicator of your risk level.
Life Insurance Options for HIV Positive People UK
A few different types of life insurance are available to people with HIV. These are:
Term Life Insurance
One of the most common sorts of life insurance is term life insurance. It provides financial protection for a set period, typically 10-20 years but can be anywhere up to 40 years, depending on the insurance company. If you die during the policy term, the death benefit will be paid out to your beneficiaries.
You can opt for level term insurance, where the death benefit and premiums stay the same for the duration of the policy, or decreasing term insurance, where the death benefit decreases over time, but the life insurance premiums stay the same.
In the past HIV positive people only had the option of a 10-year term life insurance policy. Nowadays, medical advancements and changes in the underwriting process have meant that people with HIV can get the same cover as those without the virus. However, this will depend on factors such as the stage of your HIV, your CD4 count, and whether you have any other pre-existing medical conditions.
Whole Life Insurance
Whole life insurance offers lifelong coverage. Unlike term life insurance, which only covers you for a set period, whole life insurance remains in place as long as you continue to pay your premiums.
HIV positive people can get whole life insurance, but it is more expensive than term life insurance. As with term life, the insurance company will determine the level of risk you pose to determine if they can offer you coverage.
Over Fifties Life Insurance
Over 50’s life insurance is specifically designed for UK residents aged 50 to 85. The significant benefit of this type of policy is that it does not usually require a medical examination to be approved for it. This makes it a convenient option for HIV positive applicants to secure life insurance without disclosing their status.
The downside to over 50’s life insurance is that there is a waiting period of up to two years before the death benefit is paid out. If you die within this period, your beneficiaries will not receive anything.
Group Life Insurance
You may be entitled to death in service benefits as part of your employment contract as an employee. These benefits are typically paid out as a lump sum to your beneficiaries in the event of your death while employed. In most cases, death in service benefit is provided by group life insurance policies that your employer maintains. In short, you should still be covered for HIV if you work for a company that offers Group Life Insurance.
Application Process for Life Insurance
The application process for life insurance can vary depending on the company, but some general steps are typically followed.
Once you have selected a life insurance policy, you will need to fill out an application form. You will be asked about your medical history and current health status on this form.
HIV positive applicants will undergo a medical exam, which may include tests to determine the current CD4 count and viral load. The insurer will also want to know when the applicant was first diagnosed with HIV, history of Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C, and drug use. The insurance company will use this information to assess the premium rates.
Symptoms and Treatment of HIV
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. The virus can be passed from person to person through blood, semen, or other bodily fluids. HIV can, in time, lead to AIDS (Acquired immune deficiency syndrome). AIDS is a serious, life-threatening condition caused by the destruction of the body’s immune system.
There are four main stages of HIV infection: seroconversion, asymptomatic, symptomatic HIV, and late-stage HIV.
During seroconversion, the virus replicates rapidly, and the body produces antibodies to fight the infection. This stage can take anywhere from a few weeks to months.
After seroconversion, most people enter an asymptomatic stage where they do not experience any symptoms. However, the virus is still active during this time and can be transmitted to others.
Symptomatic HIV is the next stage of the infection where an individual has started to experience symptoms related to the virus. This can include fever, rash, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes. At this stage, it is critical to use antiretroviral drugs in order to prevent the virus from progressing and damaging the immune system further.
If untreated, HIV will progress to late-stage HIV. At this point, the immune system is severely weakened, and opportunistic infections such as pneumonia and brain infections are common.
While there is currently no known cure for HIV, medical advances have dramatically improved treatment options and increased the average life expectancy for people living with the virus.
In the early days of the HIV and AIDS epidemic, very few treatments were available, and life expectancy was relatively short. However, thanks to ongoing research, various effective treatments are now available. While there is still no known cure, HIV is now a chronic but not necessarily terminal illness.
HIV is considered and treated the same as any other medical condition by insurance companies. Not disclosing it when you know you have it or are at risk of it can invalidate your policy.
If you already have life insurance and are newly diagnosed, there’s no need to disclose your HIV status to your insurance company, as long as you had no reason to suspect it could be an issue and didn’t declare it during your application.
If in doubt, ask your insurer because they cannot raise your premiums based on new medical conditions that come to light after you’ve taken out a policy.
The only exception to this is if you have a term life insurance policy as some types of these policies will be periodically reviewed. At the review stage of term policies, you do need to disclose new conditions for your cover to continue and the premiums are likely to increase when there is new information about your medical condition. Whole Life Cover policies will continue to provide the same level of protection with no additional premiums.
The key message from the ABI is that you should not cancel an HIV life insurance policy because you’ve been newly diagnosed with HIV. In many cases, the policies remain valid.
Always seek professional advice before cancelling because it’s harder to get life insurance with pre-existing medical conditions. New policies can be taken out even when you have HIV but they will have higher premiums due to the higher level of risk associated with the new policy.
How does having HIV impact life insurance premiums?
When considering life insurance, it’s important to understand that your health status will likely impact your policy, and you’ll pay higher premiums. Still, keep in mind that each insurer has its own underwriting criteria, which means one insurer may view you as a higher risk than another.
Where do I go to get HIV tested for my insurance policy?
This will depend on the insurance company; usually, the test will be performed at a private clinic or at your local GP surgery. The insurance company will give you notice of the test date and time well in advance.
Who pays for an HIV test for life insurance?
When life insurance companies test for HIV, they will generally require a blood test. The life insurance company usually covers the cost of this blood test so that you won’t be out of pocket.
Does taking a test for HIV affect life insurance even if it is negative?
If an insurance company orders an HIV test as part of its underwriting process, the test result will be factored into the life insurance policy, regardless of whether it is positive or negative. If the test is positive, the policy will likely be rated, which means that the premiums will be higher than they would otherwise be. In some cases, a policy may even be declined.
However, if the test is negative, it will not impact the policy. In other words, taking an HIV test will not affect life insurance rates unless the result is positive. If you have taken a previous test and it returned negative, there is no requirement to inform the insurance company as the result will not have any bearing on your policy.
What happens if I don’t tell my life insurance company about my HIV status?
If you don’t inform your life insurance company about your HIV status and they find out, your policy will likely be void. Having this sword of Damocles hanging over your head is one of the main reasons to be completely honest with your insurer from the get-go. If found out later, not only will all the premiums you paid be wasted, but your family will also be left without a safety net in the event of your death. This applies to any pre-existing medical condition, not just HIV.
Can I take out HIV critical illness cover?
At this time, there is no critical illness cover available for people who are HIV positive. Because HIV can lead to several serious health complications, insurers consider it too high of a risk. As a result, people who are living with HIV are not able to take out critical illness cover at this time. Things may change in the future as understanding, and medical advances in HIV treatments continue to grow. So, it is worthwhile checking back from time to time to see if this cover becomes available.
Do life insurance companies always test for HIV?
You will not necessarily be tested for HIV when applying for life insurance. Any medical examination required usually comes down to the amount of cover you require and any pre-existing conditions or high-risk hobbies you have disclosed.
If you have a history of drug use, STDs, travel or work abroad in certain high-risk countries, you are more likely to be tested for HIV.
If the insurance company does require a medical examination, they will test for a wide range of conditions, not just HIV. The examination results will be taken into account when determining your premium and the level of cover you can receive.
It is also worth noting that some life insurance companies will require a full medical examination if you list HIV as a pre-existing medical condition on your application.