25 October 2012 0 Comments

Hepatitis-C And Life Insurance

Hepatitis –C has been getting a lot of press lately as a runaway disease of the baby boomer generation.  Boomers are being encouraged to obtain blood tests to determine if they have the disease.  Hep-C can go on for years with few or no symptoms and since detection can lead to appropriate care, testing can be life saving.

Many people first discover they have Hep-C as the result of blood tests taken in conjunction with an application for life insurance.  Liver function scores are elevated.  When this happens, most insurance companies will postpone making an offer until the insurance applicant sees his own physician to determine its stage and to undertake a program of control.  One of the most important indicators for the type of life insurance premium that may be offered is the degree of alcohol consumption from the date of diagnosis.  Continued, regular use of alcohol by a person who has been informed that he is infected with Hep-C indicates that there is no program of control in place.  Either the person has not been made aware of the dilatory effects of alcohol, or is addicted.  Either way, regular use of alcohol can lead to cirrhosis and death and most likely be cause for an application for life insurance to be declined or highly rated.  Total abstinence is preferable.  And, an applicant should always totally abstain for at least 2 weeks prior to their insurance medical examination when a blood sample will be drawn.

Chronic Hepatitis-C that is well followed and where there is no indication of liver deterioration might be issued with a Table 2 to Table 4 rating.  That means if you’re buying term insurance the premium will be 50%-100% higher than a policy issued Standard.  Caution:  if the insurance company is willing to issue a policy with this rating, accept it, so they are bound.  Don’t decide that you are going to prove you’re a better risk by offering to provide more tests, such as a liver biopsy.  You can always do that after your policy has been issued.  If the additional tests prove that you are a better risk, you can go back and ask for a premium reduction, or try with another company.  If the tests show you are in worse shape, they can’t increase your premium or take your policy from you as long as you were totally honest in answering all questions on the application.

As with all applications involving a person with a medical history, an agent versed in impaired risk underwriting who can broker with a number of companies should be used.

I’m recessing medical conditions on my next entry to jump to a subject that has been suggested by a reader: used of individual policies for key employee planning.  In addition to life insurance, I’ll be covering health insurance, including Long Term Care. 

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