For so long life insurance underwriters have hung their impaired risk opinions on “well controlled” and “stable” that being hit with not just the word, but the reality of the word “cured” is just now starting to get them thinking. It wasn’t that long ago that life underwriters had to weigh the danger of the treatment just to control Hep C with Interferon and Ribavirin. While it was, in some cases, able to drive the viral load down significantly, the side effects were brutal.
Then the medical community went through a period of trying to add another drug with interferon and ribavirin to at least get a higher cure rate, and they did, but the side effects went up along with cure rate. Then last year the drug Sofosbuvir came along and without interferon or ribavirin, taking just a single pill a day, Hep C patients were at a 90% cure rate in as little as 12 weeks. Direct Acting Antiviral (DAA) drugs are associated with consistently eradicating the virus. Almost no side effects and cured? Not in remission! Not well controlled or stable! But cured as in they no longer have Hep C and all of the damage it can do to your liver and overall health.
So, the first to step out and say they are going to underwrite cured Hep C as if it’s cured was MetLife. The proof will be in the approvals and Met has been known to get agents all pumped up about new underwriting guidelines, only to fail to follow through with their end. Kind of leaves a taste with us agents because, well, in those cases they lied and we took the whipping for it. So, the jury will be out on Met’s assertion that they will approve cured Hep C in some cases at preferred rates for life insurance and standard rates without exclusions for disability income insurance. That’s huge and the good news is that even if Met goes south with their underwriting I’ve talked with underwriters from other companies who are looking at this whole situation very seriously.
Bottom line. It sure isn’t every day that changes in life insurance underwriting change from a best case rated approval to preferred rate approvals, but there are times when the medical science and treatment just simply overwhelm the old mortality studies and set new precedents. Around here we call that a good day. If you have questions or have been running into roadblocks with life insurance not treating you as if you are cured, call or email me directly. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.