HIV & Life Insurance

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HIV & Life InsuranceWe are aware that many people with HIV live long and full lives. Here at Cura, we are fighting for insurers to offer people with HIV, fair and clear insurance policies.

Things we need to know:

  • When were you diagnosed with HIV?
  • Were you diagnosed in the UK?
  • What is your viral load?
  • What is your CD4 count?
  • What medication do you take?
  • Did you contract HIV through drug use?
  • Is your GP aware that you have HIV?

Applying for life insurance when you have HIV should cause no apprehension. You can speak with our advisers with the utmost confidentiality.

Insurance providers will want to see a report from your GP about your general health, and will wish to speak to your specialist in regards to your HIV. We have established specific processes with insurers to keep your HIV status confidential from your GP, if they are unaware of your diagnosis. It is important that your application is placed with the right insurer for you.

Some insurers limit the amount of your life insurance to a maximum of 20 years, and it is good to know which insurer is going to be best for you if you require a longer term of cover.

By speaking with your GP and specialist, the insurer is making sure that they have all the information that they need about your health, before they offer you life insurance. This is a standard process for many health conditions, not just HIV.

It is a worthwhile process, as should your family need to make a claim the insurance provider cannot dispute the stage of your condition at the point of application. Until recently the term has been limited to 10 years for people with HIV however some providers will now offer cover for up to 25 years.

HIV life insurance is most likely to be offered if the condition is well controlled with good CD4 counts, near undetectable viral loads and no other health concerns. Many, but not all, providers require you to be on medication.

Insurers on the standard market will need you to have been diagnosed for at least one year before offering cover. You should be prepared that the cost of your cover will be higher than someone who does not have HIV.

The insurer calculates your premium for life insurance based on the details provided by your GP and specialist, that will include factors such as your most recent CD4 and viral count, potentially your original CD4 and viral loads at time of diagnosis, how long you have had HIV and the medications that you take.

It is possible that you may need to look at specialist life insurance policies if you are recently diagnosed, your CD4 or viral loads are outside of standard acceptance ranges, you have other significant health complications, or you contracted HIV due to drug use.

 
 

Video Transcript

Hi. Today I’m going to talk to you about HIV and life insurance. So when you have HIV and you need life insurance, there are options for you on the standard market, and there are some specialized policies that may be of interest to you. The first thing the insurer is going to want to know is when you were diagnosed or, how long ago was that. Were you diagnosed within the UK and did you contract HIV through drug use? That’s the only question they’re gonna ask about how you contracted HIV, and it’s because drug use is another aspect of a life insurance policy application. It’s another disclosure that they would be looking for. They’re going to be interested in things like, if you have any secondary conditions that are related to HIV, and also if you have anything like diabetes or high blood pressure, and if you have any illnesses like that as well, then that makes it slightly more trickier in regards to arranging the insurance, but there are still options out there for you. If you have your original CD4 count and viral load, that is helpful for the insurer to be able to give you early on an indication of what they think possibly the premium will be for the cover. Now when you have HIV and you want life insurance, it is standard that the insurance companies will increase the premium on the policy to offset what they perceive is the risk of there being a claim on that policy at some point. It could well be as well that there will be restrictions to the amount of cover that you are allowed to insure your life for, and also for the length of the policy. It all depends upon which insurer you go for, and as I say, there are some on standard market, there are some on standard market that are very good for HIV life insurance, and some that aren’t as good. So it is a good idea to speak to a broker who handles these kinds of applications on a regular basis, and knows where is the best place for you to go. Your current CD4 count and viral load is essential to be able to be given a good indication of the premium, and it’s very, very hard as a broker to be able to advise you as to which insurer to go to if we don’t have information like that, and also your medications, so how much you take per day, of the different medications that you are on to treat the condition. Then once you’ve got that provisional premium and potential policy terms, the insurer will want to speak to your GP and consultant. Now we have it in place with some insurers that if your GP is not aware of your condition, the HIV, then what they will do when they speak to the GP, they will only ask about your health in general, they won’t ask anything about the HIV, and any questions relating to the HIV will be kept to the HIV consultant. If your GP is aware, then again, they will still speak to the GP and the HIV consultant. They just want to confirm your health as it stands at the moment. It may seem a bit of a faff on, but it is actually a really good thing to have happen, to speak to the GP and the consultant, because then at least you know that the insurer has made a decision on your health as it is as your medical professionals say that it is. There is an option as well, if you eventually go through this process, and you find that the terms on offer for life insurance just don’t really suit you, or even at the beginning stage you decide the potential premiums aren’t what you’re looking for, then there are non medically underwritten policies that you can look for, and please do forgive me for the insurance jargon but, it is an important distinguished sort of sense I need to give you of the policy types. So the non medically underwritten policies won’t take into account the HIV when you’re arranging say, HIV life insurance or a version of critical illness cover or income protection. But there are limits to these policies and again it’s quite important really to speak to an insurance broker who is aware of the ins and outs of these policies, can advise you on the limits to how much you’re covered for, how the premiums are dealt with in the long term, how long the policies can last for, it’s all very technical and there are exclusions as well in the policies and that’s the point of an insurance broker, is we are there to be there to look through all of that for you and to give you that information and to explain it properly so that you have the confidence in what you are arranging.

There are some specialist policies available to residents in the UK that provide Critical Illness Cover when you have HIV. When you arrange one of these policies it is essential that you know exactly what you are and are not covered for, as they are very likely to exclude anything related to HIV. Please contact us if you would like to know more.

At the present time there are limited options for long term Income Protection policies available to people living with HIV, due to the insurance companies believing there is higher risk of a claim. There are some insurers that have recently begun to offer Income Protection to people living with HIV, they are still in the early stages of offering this and every application will be reviewed on an individual basis, so it is not possible to give clear indications of what might be available.

We are incredibly proud to be able to say that one of our team is the first adviser in the UK to arrange a personal income protection policy, for someone living with HIV.

There is also the option that your employer could arrange a company funded Income Protection scheme. Known as a Group Income Protection scheme, we can arrange this through your employer or your own company, depending upon the size and structure of your organisation.

GET AN INCOME PROTECTION QUOTE

There are however short term alternatives known as Accident and Sickness plans which may be considered. You may be eligible for Accident, Sickness (and Unemployment Cover if required) which will not ask about your HIV, but will certainly exclude it from the claims set. We would recommend that you speak to a qualified adviser before taking out cover so that they can explain what is covered and what is not.

Do you have a high BMI and plan on travelling abroad? It is worthwhile checking that your travel insurance covers you fully whilst you are abroad, at your current weight. We work alongside a specialist travel insurance broker who can help guide you to the right cover for you. Find out more here.

Hi everybody. Today I want to talk to you about Hannah.

Hannah came to us because she’d recently taken out a mortgage with her partner, and they wanted to make sure that if anything were to happen to her, that they would, well, the partner would be able to repay the mortgage and also to have a little bit of family protection there, just in case.

The reason that Hannah came to us, she was approaching 40, she was a nonsmoker, absolutely fine BMI, but she was living with, or is living with HIV. She’d been diagnosed about 10 years prior to speaking to us and very quickly started the medications and the different treatments. And her, what’s known as her, viral load was now undetectable. And her CD4 count was a really good level.

There was a couple of other things as well, though, that we needed to put in the application. She’d also about 10 years before speaking to us developed what’s known as Kaposi’s sarcoma, which is a type of cancer, and she’d required a few chemotherapy sessions, but it had been obviously about 10 years ago, a good long time since that had happened. She’d also about eight years prior to speaking to us developed hepatitis C. And again, it was something that was picked up really quickly. She had the medication and was fully recovered from it.

So, we looked at a few different cover level amounts and different things, and ended up that we were able to arrange for her to have £500,000 of level life insurance over 20 years for a monthly premium of £90.

You can view a video of our key pointers for insurance, when you are living with HIV here. In this video I talk through some of the main bits of information that are good to have to hand when you apply for life insurance.

What is HIV

HIV affects the strength or fighting ability of the human body’s immune system. This means that the body’s self defence mechanism (CD4 cells) for fighting foreign contagions and bacteria becomes significantly reduced. HIV can be contracted through sexual transmission (blood, semen or vaginal fluid), infected blood transfusion, infected needle sharing and potentially from mother to child.

Diagnosed early and with the quick administration of medication, people living with HIV can live long and healthy lives. HIV should not be mistaken for AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) which is a late-stage development of HIV. A person is considered to have developed AIDs when the HIV virus has weakened their immune system to a point where other serious illnesses manifest e.g. encephalitis, Kaposi’s sarcoma, pneumonia, etc.

Also: Human Immunodeficiency Virus

Linked with: Autoimmune conditions

Common problems experienced by individuals who have HIV include:

  • Acceptance of HIV status
  • Additional medical treatments – daily medicines, yearly flu jabs and five yearly pneumoccocal vaccinations are recommended
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Emotional isolation
  • Employment restrictions – primarily regarding surgery, dentistry and the armed forces
  • Fear of social stigma
  • Malnutrition
  • Primary (early stage, up to 3 weeks) – sore throat, fever and blotchy red rash
  • Secondary (potentially years later) – persistent lymphadenopathy, night sweats, mouth ulcers, shingles, seborrhoeic dermatitis
  • Sexual anxiety
  • 3TC
  • Abacavir Sulphate
  • Abacavir sulphate / Lamivudine (Kivexa)
  • Abacavir sulphate / Lamivudine / Zidovudine (Trizivir)
  • Aptivus / Tipranavir
  • Atazanavir sulphate / Reyataz (Ziagen)
  • Atripla / Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate / Efavirenz / Emtricitabine
  • AZT
  • D4T
  • Darunavir ethanolate / Prezista
  • ddI
  • Didanosine / Videx
  • Efavirenz / Sustiva
  • Emtricitabine / Emtriva
  • Emtricitabine / Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate / Truvada
  • Enfuvirtide / Fuzeon
  • Etravirine / Intelence
  • Fosamprenavir calcium (Telzir)
  • FTC
  • Indinavir
  • Invirase / Saquinavir mesilate
  • Isentress / Raltegravir
  • Lamivudine (Epivir)
  • Lamivudine / Zidovudine (Combivir)
  • Lopinavir/Ritonavir (Kaletra)
  • Maraviroc (Celsentri)
  • Nelfinavir
  • Nevirapine / Viramune
  • Nevirapine hemihydrate / Viramune Suspension
  • Ritonavir (Norvir)
  • Stavudine / Zerit
  • T-20
  • Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate / Viread
  • Vistide (Cidofovir)
  • Zidovudine (Retrovir)

Common Questions

Yes you can. Depending on your circumstances you may be able to get life insurance with some insurers on the standard market, or with a specialist provider. Please do not be downhearted if you have been declined life insurance in the past, there are many insurers that will refuse life insurance applications for people with HIV. We know which insurers are going to be right for you. You will pay higher premiums for life insurance due to you having HIV and it is common for insurers to limit the amount of years that you can take out the cover for.

No it wont. Your health is your health. If your partner has HIV it will have no bearing on your application.

No it isn’t. We work with a number of insurers, HIV organisations and charities to develop fairer insurance policies for people with HIV. There are a number of insurers in the UK who will offer life insurance to people living with HIV, it’s possible that you didn’t speak with one of them. Every insurer has different acceptance criteria based on how long you have been diagnosed for, your current CD4 and viral load counts. It’s best to speak to an adviser who knows the market well and can direct you to the right insurer. If you have any additional health complications, such as diabetes, you will most likely need to speak to a specialist insurer.

Client Reviews

The Special Risks Bureau has been rated 5 out of 5 based on 390 reviews.

Review by George on 28th October 2016

I was declined life insurance because I have HIV online. After speaking to cura I felt hopeful and was so grateful that they found me cover. I can't recommend them enough for their caring and professional attention. - 5 

You can read more of our reviews here.

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HIV & Life Insurance

Dr Kathryn Knowles Phd

Author
This page was written by Dr Kathryn Knowles Phd, an award-winning insurance adviser. To read more about Kathryn please see her bio here

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