Hepatitis and Life Insurance

Every week, people with hepatitis c ask us for help in buying life insurance. Many, many Americans have this disease, and yet a large number are not quite sure what causes hepatitis c.

The causes of hepatitis c are many. Often, the exact causes of hepatitis c, for any particular hepatitis patient, are never conclusively proven.

Let’s look at some possible causes—how one might contract hepatitis c.

  • School Inoculations. During the “cold war” era, grade school children were typically inoculated in “herd” programs. They were simply lined up and given inoculations for small pox, polio and other serious diseases—all without parental consent. Transmission of hepatitis was not considered, at that time.
  • Inadequate Sterilization. Until recently, health departments, doctor’s offices, hospitals, clinics and dentist offices did not sterilize their equipment—nor did they dispose of their hazardous waste safely. Syringes and needles were soaked in alcohol to “sterilize” them—a procedure that we now know simply does not work. Both patients as well as medical practitioners could have contracted hepatitis c this way.
  • Military Inoculations. Many other Americans contracted hepatitis in the military. Entire groups of soldiers were inoculated with the same instruments. Even though the needle was supposed to be an air blast, skin was broken and blood was exchanged. Hep c transmission resulted, on a mass scale.
  • Blood Transfusions. A great tragedy has been found in the blood industry. Many adults and children were given tainted blood through transfusions. Some victims have collected compensation through lawsuits, and although this pays them for the crime it doesn’t cure the disease. Hopefully, we have seen the last of hep c transmission due to blood transfusions.
  • Drug Usage, Tattoos, and Acupuncture. Many people experimented with drugs at one point in their lives. Unfortunately, sharing contaminated needles may have spread the disease from one person to another. Other people may have visited unclean tattoo parlors or acupuncture shops.
  • Sexually Transmitted. Some people feel they may have come in contact with hepatitis c through sexual relations. Although sexual transmission as a cause of hepatitis c is a matter of some debate, most health care professionals do advise safe sex practices as a precaution against infection.

Regardless of the causes of hepatitis c, the good news here is that it is very possible to buy life insurance even when hepatitis positive. Your life insurance broker just needs to know where to look!

Next, let’s look at your options for getting life insurance with hep c.

Life Insurance for Hep C Patients? It’s Possible!

Hold on tight and read this page, carefully.

If you are a hep c patient, you very well could be insurable. In fact, your life insurance coverage can even be quite reasonably priced. It all depends on the product and the process.

First of all, most hep c patients will qualify for guaranteed issue and simplified issue products. This means no exam and no review of medical records. Prospective buyers are restricted to the list of carriers approved for business in their state of residence, as well as issue-age minimums and maximums. The companies that manufacture these products also severely limit the face amount available.

Bear in mind that these products are relatively expensive, because the companies know that only people who don’t qualify for underwriting are buying them. Claims are imminent. So, “no exam” products are a good last resort.

Now, here’s the very good news.

Many people with hep c can be underwritten. This means that they can go through the process of an insurance exam—provide samples of blood and urine—have their medical records reviewed—and end up with a reasonable life insurance offer.

How affordable will the offer be? It depends on a number of key underwriting factors—next, we’ll look at hepatitis c, test results, and life underwriting.

What do your hepatitis c test results look like?

To the life insurance underwriter, your hepatitis c test results are key factors in the decision process. How much life insurance will they offer you? How much will they charge you?

Here are some clues.

  • Liver Biopsy. This tool is the only way to assess damage to the liver. A positive report here can be very influential even if viral loads have been a little high. Viral load is one of the main indicators for determining if the patient is responding to treatment.
  • High Liver Enzymes. They may not result in a higher rate if they are above normal—as long as they are not “out of the ballpark.” Other factors besides hepatitis (such as alcohol intake and diet) can effect LFT’s, and this is taken into consideration when your hepatitis c test results are evaluated.
  • Drug and Alcohol Abuse. These behaviors have to be behind you. A person that is hepatitis c positive and still uses drugs and alcohol will be seen as somebody who is not just standing at the edge of the cliff—but running to it to jump off.
  • Depression. Being diagnosed with hepatitis c is depressing, itself. Treatment for the disease can make matters worse. Yet, if the depression is controlled and has not led to more serious disorders, than it may not affect the underwriting decision.

Now, you can see that it’s quite reasonable for an underwriter to approve your life insurance application. Being a hepatitis c patient, in and of itself, does not preclude coverage. You can do much to improve your odds, and the key is consumer education. This brings us to our recommendations for patients with hepatitis c – something which should open some eyes among consumers. Hepatitis c patients definitely need these recommendations:

Choose A Trustworthy Broker

It’s extremely important that you be completely open with your broker, regarding your health history and lifestyle. Positive diagnostic readings — a history of stability and improvement — and a healthy life style — can all have a positive influence. Indeed, if a hepatitis c patient feels comfortable enough to speak feely about prior life experiences and current lifestyle (as well as to provide copies of medical records), then their potential risk for insurability can be presented in the most positive light.

Therefore, it is essential that your broker have the “people skills” and professionalism necessary for creating this level of confidence. There’s too much at stake, to risk working with someone that you don’t trust.

Choose A Specializing Broker

It is the responsibility of your life insurance broker to advocate your case in the most positive light — and to prequalify your case with the most appropriate life insurance carriers. Therefore, we recommend that you select a broker that specializes in hepatitis c and other impaired risk cases. They should understand the process of life insurance prequalification and how it will protect your life insurance application history.

Conversely, a non-specialized broker is accustomed to getting life insurance for relatively healthy individuals. He is likely to make the common mistake of submitting formal applications before obtaining prequalified quotes. This mistake can damage a hepatitis c patient’s life insurance application history—and jeopardize eligibility for future coverage.

Choose An Experienced Broker

Life insurance carriers tend to specialize in the types of risks they underwrite, and it’s true that many are not interested in hepatitis c patients. However, others can be very competitive. Your broker should be thoroughly experienced in the risk impaired market, in order to match the most appropriate life underwriters to your particular history of hepatitis c.

The inexperienced broker, on the other hand, is likely to tell you that you’re not insurable, simply because you have hepatitis c. Hopefully, this article has convinced you that hepatitis c patients are insurable, indeed.

Always Demand Prequalification.

This is perhaps our most important recommendation.

Even if you accidentally choose a non-specialized or inexperienced broker, prequalification will protect you. Prequalification tells you — in advance of a formal application — exactly how much life insurance you will be offered and how much it will cost. Without the formal application, there is no risk of getting declined or rated. Your life insurance application history is protected—and so is your future eligibility for coverage.

Therefore, always demand life insurance prequalification from your broker. This means that your broker should be able to solicit an accurate offer based on your medical records and a thorough personal interview — all before submitting an actual application. This is a very similar service to mortgage prequalification.

We wish you the best of luck in your search for coverage. You might want to print out this life insurance guide, as you interview potential brokers. Remember, hepatitis c patients can still be good candidates for life insurance coverage. Never let a broker tell you otherwise.