Just a month ago there was only one step to getting life insurance if you were HIV positive. You filled out an application for guaranteed issue life insurance and sent in money, lots of money. Guaranteed issue whole life insurance was your only choice and even though you wouldn’t get turned down, that was definitely the only thing even marginally pretty about the picture. The death benefit is almost never more than $50,000 and because it’s highly rated (as in high risk), even that small face amount isn’t available to your beneficiaries for 2-3 years. If you were to die for any cause during that period the company graciously returns the premium paid in to your beneficiaries.
And then the earth shifted and underwriters, at least a few underwriters with a few companies, recognized that being diagnosed HIV Positive, with early detection and aggressive treatment, wasn’t necessarily a reason to decline traditional term and universal life insurance anymore. This is the way things have been heading for the last 10 years or so. Medical issues that used to be unstoppable and uninsurable were finally finding safe harbor in new treatment methods and once medical intervention had a track record of being able to arrest, if not cure, diseases, life insurance found a foot hold and jumped on board. And for those that qualify you can get up to $1 million of term or universal life insurance. You’re no longer locked into one option for one product at one extremely high price. By my calculations for someone 35 a million of 20 year term will cost about the same as $50k of guaranteed issue whole life.
So, the criteria for approval are tight, but not so tight that they aren’t attainable which bring us to step one.
1. Review the criteria and see if you qualify. No fudging. If all of the answers to questions aren’t verifiable in medical records there won’t be any approval. So, do your homework. Check your own records and while you’re there make copies of relevant documents that will be needed in step 2.
2. If you get through step one and appear to be on track, contact me and we’ll review the information and then send out a secure email with the parts to step two, a questionnaire to verify information from step one, a HIPPA authorization to allow me to review records, and a list of medical documentation that will be needed. None of this information will be considered formal in the application sense and for that reason will only be seen by myself and two underwriters. It will be confidential and secure. If, after the informal review, it appears you are indeed on track, we go to step 3.
3. We will complete an informal application that will allow the underwriters to acquire and review your medical records in more detail and if this hurdle is cleared we go to step 4.
4. At this point you have been through three levels of pre qualification and are conditionally approved, that condition being the exam. So a formal application and exam are completed and your file goes to final underwriting and approval. Once approved the policy is sent out for review and delivery requirements to put it in force.
I have imagined that some may see this as a bit of a cumbersome process, but it’s really more cumbersome on our end. A little homework up front and you’re free to sit back and watch just like the clients we’re already working with. This is a major shift for those HIV+ that qualify, from gay couples to CEO’s of companies, to any family that has needed real family protection and hasn’t been able to get enough to make a difference. For gay, or any other couples who haven’t received legal status for the relationship I need to stress one other step, medical power of attorney,
Bottom line. There was a time not that long ago when any president of any insurance company would have said, without flinching, that HIV positive clients would never get traditionally underwritten life insurance. Now most of them can see the writing on the wall and for a few really good companies that writing is happening on applications that will soon be approved life insurance policies. If you have questions or need more information, call or email me directly. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.