Life insurance underwriters kind of get caught with their brainiac pants down when something like a cure for Hepatitis C comes along. They’ve had their underwriting stance on the impairment in writing for so long that it’s just what it is and it’s not going to change any more than a star’s name on the walk of fame in Hollywood would be chiseled out and changed. It used to be all about how long you had Hep C before treatment was started, how severe the treatment was and how well the person was able to cope with it, and what liver functions and biopsies showed. The long and short of it was that someone who had the Hep C well controlled and whose liver was hanging in there might get as good as a standard rate as long as they weren’t short sighted enough to think it was OK to drink. If they drank or if any of the facets of control were in the borderline zone, a rated policy or even a decline was definitely in play.
So our friends at Hinerman Group polled the best underwriters to see how they really felt about a Hep C cure. No surprise that there is still some skepticism out there but not as much as there could be. They obviously weren’t going to go overboard and completely change their view of the Hep C risk for a couple of reasons. First, the treatment is expensive and at this point, in the absence of your own ability to self pay the $100,000 or so, insurance companies are holding out and only approving the treatment for those who are in the worst shape. While we appreciate that end of the spectrum having first shot at the treatment, that leaves those who could take the treatment before any collateral damage is done without the cure for now. So underwriters are looking at a higher risk pool even though the cure should stop further damage.
The other reason is that those who are already at a higher risk because of longer exposure to Hep C may have hidden impairments caused by that exposure. But any of us can have hidden impairments, right? Anyway the life insurance companies polled ran the gamut from as good as preferred plus rates (of course depending on lft’s and liver biopsies) to standard plus, standard and table 2 or so. All of the companies seemed to be significantly better than they were for treated, controlled Hep C.
If you have questions or would like us to shop your life insurance for the best rate out there, call or email us directly. We can help.
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