Jessica Fox Last Updated On: June 27, 2023

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Getting Life Insurance For People With HIV

Life insurance for HIV patients

Everyone is entitled to life insurance no matter their current state of health. However, certain lifestyle choices like smoking or chronic conditions like HIV make shopping for life insurance more challenging as you have fewer policy options.

And what life insurance policies you have to choose from come with higher premiums, more eligibility requirements and less in the way of final expense benefits.

So is it possible to get quality life insurance without paying an arm and a leg?

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The Hard Truth

Insurers use averages to determine premium rates. Therefore, any condition that affects your longevity will directly affect your rates — i.e., life-threatening conditions mean a spike in your premiums. 

So for people living with HIV, you face higher premiums — roughly 10x higher than those without HIV — despite all the advances in medicine. However, current research indicates that HIV-positive individuals on antiretroviral therapy (ART) live significantly longer thanks to this life-saving treatment — 20 year-olds can live into their 70s. Sadly, this should equate to a premium-savings, but that just isn’t the case.

Why Your Insurance Rates Are Higher?

Although medical advancements have improved the quality and lifespan for those living with HIV, insurance companies haven’t adjusted their rates due to:
  • Forgetting Treatments: ART therapy can save lives. The trouble is since it’s a drug (most commonly a pill), just like any medication if you forget, this can threaten the effectiveness of the treatment. Fortunately, monthly injections are on the horizon to help close this gap.
  • More Vulnerable To Health Conditions: Even while receiving ART, people living with HIV are more likely to experience troublesome health conditions earlier than those without HIV. On average HIV-positive individuals can have a heart attack or develop cancer a decade ahead of those without HIV.
  • Viral Suppression: Only 30% of HIV-positive individuals reach viral suppression.
All of these factors to an insurance company spell high risk, so unfortunately, if you don’t get group life insurance you’ll encounter steep rates.

HIV Life Insurance Prerequisites

Before you begin shopping around for life insurance quotes, there are a few prerequisites you will need to meet in order to qualify for coverage, such as:
  • Age: To qualify, you have to be between the age of 20-65 — the exact age range depends on the insurer.
  • Treatment: You’ll need to prove to insurance that you’ve been receiving ART for 2-5 years from a doctor specializing in HIV.
It’s important to note that even if you meet all the insurance company’s requirements, they may still deny you. If this happens to you, you’re within your rights to ask why you were denied coverage.

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HIV Life Insurance Coverage Options

If you’re in the market for life insurance and you’re HIV-positive, these are the coverage options available to you:
  • Employer-Sponsored Life Insurance: One of the best ways to get life insurance is to take advantage of group life coverage as it’s guaranteed coverage — no matter your current health. Another perk is the insurance rates are much more feasible.
Final Expense Or Burial Life Insurance Options: Like term life insurance, final expense life insurance is designed for individuals that are ineligible for term life due to health conditions or age. However, unlike term life insurance, you won’t have to go through an extensive medical exam, so your current state of health won’t disqualify you from coverage. These are the final expense policies available to you:
  • Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance: These plans typically are offered to those over 45 years old but comparatively, they don’t discriminate based on health. This is a whole life policy with high premiums, lower death benefits ($5,000-$25,000), but you have to pay into these policies for 1-2 years before these benefits are activated. However, you can buy more than one of these policies to increase your death benefits.
  • Simplified Issue Life Insurance: Akin to guaranteed acceptance coverage, you aren’t subjected to an extensive medical exam but, with simplified issue insurance, you’ll face some health questioning. Premiums are higher, death benefits are capped at around $40,000, and this coverage option is only available to those over 45.

How To Get Life Insurance If You Have HIV?

It’s comforting to know that even if you’re diagnosed with HIV, you can still lead a long life if you get onto life-saving antiretroviral therapy quickly; the drawback is finding insurance coverage. Unfortunately, no matter how much the outlook of an HIV diagnosis has changed for the better, insurance companies still aren’t offering many policy options.

Ultimately, the best option for those living with HIV is getting onto a group life insurance policy. However, if you don’t have that luxury, you can still find coverage with final expense life insurance. Whatever choice you make, just having life insurance is what counts.

Jessica Fox Jessica Fox has been a freelance writer for five years, with a specialty in health, wellness, and insurance. During this time, she’s written for some of the biggest B2B and B2C brands from around the world. Jessica is also the mother of two young daughters and loves coffee, writing, and working out.

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