New Life Insurance Programs For Hepatitis C Undetected
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Most Americans are somewhat familiar with Hepatitis C, at least to a certain extent. Although there are about 4 million people in U.S. infected with the disease, the other 320 million may or may not have even heard of it. The bad news is that there are many people that are currently infected but don't know it because noticeable symptoms are typically not presented until after the individual has been infected for ten or fifteen years.
Hepatitis C is very contagious and is spread when blood from an infected person comes in contact with blood from a person who is not infected. The disease can either be "acute" (short-term lasting about six months) or "chronic" (long-term lasting a lifetime). To put this disease in perspective, we should examine the statics put forth by the CDC who regularly tracks infectious diseases.
Acute Hepatitis C (Hep C) is considered a short-term illness that lasts typically six months or can lead to chronic Hep C.
Chronic Hepatitis C (Hep C) is considered long-term because the virus remains in the patient’s body unless treated with new modern-day medications. For most patients, acute Hep C leads to chronic Hep C.
An estimated 2.7 – 4.0 million people in the U.S. have chronic Hep C and approximately 75% to 85% of people that are diagnosed go from acute to chronic Hep C.
How will Hepatitis C Affect my Life Insurance?
Individuals that have been diagnosed with either acute or chronic Hep C are likely to face serious challenges when applying for traditional fully-underwritten life insurance. In fact, depending on your underwriting results, most individuals who apply for fully-underwritten life insurance are either sub-standard or declined altogether.
Applicants that were diagnosed with Hep C and have undergone treatment with Harvoni, Zepatier, or Epclusa, have a good chance of a standard plus rating if their blood tests indicate no presence of the virus three or months after their treatment has been completed. The problem here is that treatment with these drugs normally cost between $60,000 and $95,000 and most insurers will not provide coverage for them.
The pharmaceutical companies that provide these drugs claim the pricing is such that they want to recover significant research and development costs. Certainly, if you are a patient with Hep C and your liver has begun to deteriorate, your concern is not for “Big Pharma” to recoup their investment, but rather your concern is that you wish to be cured and live a long and happy life.
In some cases, if your health insurer does not provide coverage or only provides minimal reimbursement, the companies will offer a substantial discount to help you pay for treatment. Patients who wish to inquire about these special discount programs can visit each company’s website for more information about getting help with purchasing the medication.
There are Alternatives
Fortunately, for individuals that have been diagnosed with Hepatitis C, there are alternatives when applying for life insurance. If you are applying for life insurance and have not been treated with any of the new Hep C drugs that are currently available, you have three options for getting life insurance coverage. Here we will discuss each in the order from best value to least value.
Simplified Issue (Recommended)
We consider simplified issue life insurance the better value because it is the easiest method to purchase insurance at affordable rates. Fortunately for applicants with Hep C, there are several insurers that offer simplified issue life insurance for individuals with hepatitis C, whether they have gone through treatment or not.
Simplified issue life insurance policies do not require medical exams or blood tests. The policies are underwritten using the information the applicant provides on the application along with reports from the Medical Information Bureau and a national prescription drug database.
Since these policies are not fully underwritten, the rates are a little higher than traditional life insurance, but the higher rates far outweigh the aggravation of a medical exam and waiting two or three months to either get your policy issued or declined. Unlike guaranteed issue life insurance, the simplified issue policy does not have a waiting period for coverage or a very low limit on the death benefit. These policies are designed to provide first-day coverage with a more reasonable death benefit.
Independent agents like Life Policy Shopper specialize in high-risk insurance cases and represent multiple insurers that offer simplified issue life insurance for individuals with Hepatitis C. They have a successful track record with getting these cases issued at very affordable rates.
Guaranteed issue life insurance can certainly benefit individuals who have multiple health issues or are attempting to purchase insurance at 65 or older. The upside about the product is that if you are alive and not incarcerated, you can typically get coverage since there is no medical underwriting or even questions on the application about your medical history. But, like most insurance products that are guaranteed issue, there are some drawbacks when you purchase guaranteed issue life insurance.
- Policies typically have a two or three-year waiting period before they will pay the full death benefit for death from natural causes.
- The insurance company will have a low ceiling on the death benefit, like $20,000 or $25,000 which generally is only enough money to cover a funeral.
- The monthly premiums are typically double what a simplified issue policy costs.
Life insurance policies that are fully underwritten are usually the most affordable if your policy is issued with a standard rating or better. The rates are more affordable because the insurance company has fully underwritten the policy by ordering medical records, a medical exam, and the appropriate blood and urine tests.
For individuals that apply for fully underwritten life insurance after completing a treatment program with Harvoni, Zepatier, Epclusa, or other established treatment, your chances of getting a standard rate are very good. With the cure becoming more common place we monitor the companies and changes in underwriting in order to find the best opportunities for finding the most benefits possible for those cured of hepatitis C.
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