Selecting Life Insurance When HIV Positive: Essential Guide

Can you get life insurance if you have HIV? Read Insurist’s guide to getting life insurance for HIV patients and get answers to frequently asked questions.
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Written by Brian Greenberg

Last updated: July 20th, 2022

Reviewed by Grant Desselle

When you are HIV positive, life insurance can be a critical piece of your financial security plan. But because of the nature of this chronic illness, many insurers will consider a person’s HIV status when making a decision about whether or not to offer coverage. This can make it difficult for people living with HIV to find comprehensive yet affordable policies.

This guide will walk you through the basics of life insurance when you are HIV positive. We’ll cover the different types of policies available, how your health affects your premiums, and other things to consider when making your choice. With the right coverage in place, you can rest assured that you and your loved ones are taken care of financially down the road.

Can You Get Life Insurance If You Have HIV in the U.S.?

Yes. You can get life insurance in the U.S. if you are HIV positive. But be prepared to answer some questions about your health and lifestyle choices.

Life insurance premiums for people living with HIV can be up to five times higher than rates for a person without any health conditions. This is because life insurers will consider many factors when they decide how much you’ll pay, including age, activities you participate in, lifestyle choices, and family history.

Types of Life Insurance for People With HIV

Determining the best life insurance for you depends on your needs. Here are some life insurance options for people with HIV.

Term Life Insurance

A level term life insurance policy covers you for a set period of time, like 10 or 20 years. During that time, you pay regular premiums. When the term is up, so is your coverage. This can be beneficial if you are relatively young and healthy but want to lock in lower rates now while you’re still in your prime.

Whole Life Insurance

A whole life insurance policy is a type of permanent insurance designed to cover you for life. Even if you develop a health issue, like HIV, your premiums will still stay the same. Some whole life policies also let you take out loans against the face value of the policy or borrow money from it tax-free (known as taking cash value).

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Life Insurance Tests for HIV

Life insurance applicants are typically required to take medical exams. If you have HIV, insurers will want to know if you are being treated and what your life expectancy is. Some providers will consider treatment a mitigating factor when they quote your policy. In other words, the cost of life insurance for someone living with HIV who is being successfully treated can be lower than coverage for someone not in treatment.

Other tests that insurers might require from applicants who have HIV or other life-threatening conditions include an electrocardiogram (EKG) to measure heart health, blood tests, including a complete blood count (CBC), an HIV test, and liver enzymes test to check organ function. A physical exam will also be conducted, where the life applicant’s height, weight, body mass index (BMI), and blood pressure are recorded.

During the application process, expect the insurance provider to ask a lot of personal questions. The questions you might need to answer include:

  • When you were diagnosed with HIV
  • What and how many medications you are taking
  • What your viral load and CD4 count are
  • What symptoms you are experiencing now or have in the past
  • If you have any other health conditions

You should not be asked about your sexuality or how you got HIV, but some insurers might ask if you have ever taken illicit drugs within the last five to 10 years.

Life Insurance for People With HIV: FAQs

Here are some of the questions asked by those looking for the best life insurance for persons living with HIV:

Is HIV considered a pre-existing condition?

Yes, HIV is classified as a pre-existing condition. This is why life insurance for people living with HIV can be more expensive than for those without it. Insurers will look at your individual circumstances and base premiums on their findings. But, they will always consider HIV as a pre-existing condition. If you are already covered by life insurance, the provider may still include HIV as a pre-existing condition if you switch life insurers.

Do I have to tell the life insurance company that I have HIV?

No, you don’t have to tell them outright that you have HIV. HIV life insurance companies are not allowed by law to deny life insurance coverage to people who have HIV or AIDS. You can apply for life insurance without disclosing that you have the illness, but life insurers will find out anyway if they ask you for medical exams during the application process.

What are insurers looking for when they ask life expectancy questions?

Life expectancy is one of the most important factors that insurers look into when determining premiums. It will always be based on scientific evidence and expert medical opinions.

Life expectancies can be as short as 10 years for those who have advanced HIV and as long as 20 to 30 years for those who are living with the virus but not yet on life-saving antiretroviral therapy. The life expectancy that life insurers will assign you depends on several factors, such as:

  • If you have advanced-stage HIV and CD4 count (the lower the number, the shorter life expectancy life insurers will give you);
  • If you have high viral load;
  • If you are older in age.

Can you get life insurance through your employer if you have HIV?

Yes, but that depends on what’s available through your employer’s group life insurance plan. Most life insurance policies offered through work do not cover pre-existing conditions. If you are covered under your company’s healthcare plan, life insurance for people living with HIV may not be available. Talk to your employer and your insurance company about your options.

Will insurance premiums be higher for people living with HIV?

Yes, they can be. Life expectancies are shorter for people living with HIV, so premiums are typically higher.

Can you be denied life insurance for HIV?

Yes, you can be denied life insurance if providers learn that you have advanced HIV and CD4 counts that are less than 200. In this case, life insurance for people living with HIV may not be available.

Life Insurance for HIV Patients: Insurist Can Help

Insurist helps people make the best decisions regarding insurance policies, whether life, car, disability, motorcycle, or home insurance. Find your best policy designed specifically for those living with HIV in seconds with a quote from one of Insurist’s recommended partners.

Our partners’ life insurance plans are specially built to meet the needs of people living with complex life conditions, including HIV and AIDS. Medical underwriting experts who have extensive experience in helping people living with HIV get the best coverage possible work to create the best plans.

Getting life insurance through a qualified provider with Insurist is easy and only takes a few minutes. Complete an online quote request so we can get started immediately.

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