We’ve been at the forefront of impaired risk life insurance for years, helping clients with impairments from obesity, sleep apnea and heart disease to skin cancer, diabetes, prostate cancer and breast cancer. For just as long as any other agency out there we were still unable to help anyone who had been diagnosed with or tested on a life insurance exam hiv positive. It was just not a mortality risk that life insurance companies were willing to consider.
But let’s backtrack just a bit since we’ve been at this nearly 15 years and talk about some of the historical changes in impaired risks and how they were perceived by life insurance companies. Dial back even just 10 years and it was common life insurance practice for a history of melanoma to be postponed 10 or more years before approval would be considered. At that point and even further back most companies made no distinction between stages and grades of skin cancer. While basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma were given relatively fair treatment (standard rates), melanoma, even insitu which is a stage 0 was a postpone for years.
In the same vein it was not all that long ago that approval for a person with type 1 diabetes, no matter how well controlled and how healthy they were while managing life with diabetes, was a life insurance decline. Underwriters didn’t care about their diabetes management and wouldn’t consider an approval even with no collateral diabetes health issues and an A1c that had been stable at 6.5 or 7 since they were diagnosed. Both cancer and diabetes just kind of carried a worst case scenario stigma that no amount of logic could overcome.
Other impaired risks like obesity, sleep apnea and coronary artery disease were thrown in a mutual bucket that, no matter what the real health facts were, would only allow an underwriter to approve a rated policy. It was really a life insurance underwriting world that heaped hot coals on impairments that were mild and impairments that were severe in equal amounts.
We have a company called US Financial to thank for starting the thawing process in life insurance underwriting . Before USF it was the bucket underwriting system where everyone with CAD was put in the same underwriting class (bucket) whether they took life by the horns or not. One person could have a heart attack and go right back to a lifestyle that was destined to lead to another heart attack and get the same treatment as someone who had a heart attack and lost weight, started exercising and completely changed their lifestyle to avoid a repeat performance. USF called it clinical underwriting and it made sense. Someone who takes control of their health after finding out they have a problem should be treated differently than someone who ignores the problem.
From there a whole new industry and new underwriting teams at several companies decided they might have something to their take on health and lifestyle management surfaced and grew. Soon life insurance underwriters were listening to changes in screening and treatment that were adding significant years to people’s lives. And then what many of them never saw coming, a world where a person with a well managed impairment had a longer life expectancy than the average population. It was true with prostate and breast cancer, melanoma, coronary artery disease and diabetes and today two traditional life insurance companies have admitted that the hiv mortality risk is among those impairments that can finally be treated with the respect of an approval.
Within reasonable parameters we’re helping hiv positive clients can now get up to $1 million of term or universal life insurance at reasonable rates. It’s a new day out there, frankly not one we saw coming this soon, but science and medicine have made huge strides and it’s time. If you have questions or need more information on how to qualify for life insurance approval for hiv positive, call or email. We can help.
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