HIV life cover - Protect your family
Life cover offers you and your family a crucial financial safety net.
In exchange for paying a monthly premium, your insurer will pay out a set amount to your beneficiaries. This will help them cover the cost of living and pay off major debts as well as cater for other ongoing expenses including education and healthcare.
If you’re the sole breadwinner of your family or have a dependent spouse, children, or parents, having life insurance in place will ensure that they’re taken care of when you’re no longer able to. The amount of coverage that you get will be dependent on your specific needs and will take into account your income, financial position, level of debt, and your budget.
Can l get life insurance if I’m HIV positive?
Many South Africans are still under the impression that you cannot obtain life cover if you’re HIV positive or that; you’re limited to specialist insurers like AllLife.
While this was the case in the past, times have changed and thanks to modern treatments and an increased life expectancy that matches that of people who are HIV negative, most insurers now offer people who are HIV positive life cover.
While this cover will be limited in certain respects and you may have to submit to regular health checks, the cover is certainly available. This is a result of many changes in policy which in effect does not allow insurers to discriminate against a person simply because they are HIV positive.
The underwriting process for HIV positive individuals
During the underwriting process, you will have to provide a range of general and health-related information to the insurer.
In addition to your gender, level of education, occupation, and age you will have to undergo a blood test that will establish your CD4 count and determine if it’s within the limits set by the insurer. Generally speaking, anyone with a CD4 count lower than 250 will most likely not be able to secure life cover.
To maintain your cover you must not only be on an antiretroviral treatment but you need to go for regular blood tests that will help you monitor your health and keep your policy active.
Life cover limitations for people who are HIV positive
You will be required, as mentioned, to take regular blood tests to ensure your antiretroviral treatment is effective. If your count drops, you will be required to visit a medical professional to adjust your treatment.
If your viral load increases or your CD4 count is low you’ll be given about 6 months to start an alternative treatment and, if this does not happen your insurer will likely reduce your cover to accidental death cover or reduce your payout to 10% of the regular amount.
Adhering to your health monitoring policy
When you take out HIV life cover your policy document will stipulate the health monitoring policy that you’ll have to follow in order for your cover to remain inactive.
Taking your antiretroviral treatment is one of the most important parts of your health monitoring policy adherence. This requires you to take the right dosage, at the right time, as prescribed by your doctor.
If your viral load has increased and does not return to an acceptable level after changing treatments or your CD4 count drops below the minimum, you will be flagged as non-adherent to the policy and your cover will be adjusted accordingly (it will be reduced or it will revert to disability cover).
In addition not submitting to the scheduled blood tests as per the schedule provided to you by your insurer will also result in your being deemed non-adherent.
What is disability cover?
Disability cover offers an additional layer of protection for you or your family by covering you should you become disabled. This disability is referred to as occupational disability or disability as a result of HIV/AIDS.
Occupational disability basically refers to any disability that renders you unable to perform your own or another reasonable occupation. This disability must be permanent and total before your policy will payout. In this case, the insurer will also waive your monthly premiums for a set period which will cover you during the usual waiting period (and sometimes beyond).
To make your disability claim you will need to complete a disability claim form which will be provided to you by your insurer as well as the relevant medical assessments that will provide clear and sufficient information regarding your disability so that the insurer can confirm it is both permanent and total. All tests must be paid for by you.
HIV specific disability
If you become disabled as a result of HIV/AIDS as per the World Health Organization definition of Stage 4 and you’re no longer responding to your antiretroviral treatment, your policy will pay out after the stipulated waiting period.
The tests that you’ll have to undergo not only as part of the health monitoring policy but also in the event of disability will have to be completely paid for by policyholders.
South African companies offering HIV life cover
South African insurance companies are not allowed to discriminate against anyone based solely on his or her HIV status. Most insurance providers offer HIV life cover but some of the most popular include AllLife, Altrisk, Liberty, Metropolitan, MiWayLife, Old-Mutual, and Sanlam.
So if you’re over 18 and under the age of 65 you can apply for HIV life cover from one of these or any other life insurance provider. If a loved one is HIV positive, you may pay for their cover but they must be willing and must communicate with the insurer directly. They must also remain compliant as per the agreed policy and you will need to keep up with the premiums for cover to remain uninterrupted.
The importance of full discourse
When taking out life insurance it’s crucial to disclose all relevant information to your insurer. This will help avoid the very devastating situation of having a claim denied. While such an occurrence is not all that common it happens to thousands of families every year – and most of these are as a result of non-disclosure.
If for whatever reason you are declined for comprehensive life cover you still have the option of applying for accidental death cover, thereby still offering you and your family a level of security and peace of mind.