Hepatitis is a disease that affects the liver causing the inflammation of the liver. This can lead to liver cirrhosis which leads to liver cancer. Hepatitis can be caused by the virus also known as viral hepatitis; other causes of hepatitis include alcohol, toxins, bacteria, and certain diseases.
We will take a look at the most common form of hepatitis, which is viral hepatitis and how to buy life insurance with hepatitis especially for seniors.
What is Viral Hepatitis?
Viral hepatitis is caused by virus and there are three prevalent viral forms of hepatitis known as Hepatitis A, B, and C. The symptoms is quite the same in all three hepatitis, these symptoms can range from jaundice, loss of appetite, fatigue, abdominal pain in the right side of the body to muscle aches.
The three viral hepatitis are transmitted differently and have different effects on the liver as well even thou they all have almost identical symptoms. Additionally, the three forms of diseases are underwritten differently too.
Also, read our post about life insurance with liver cirrhosis.
The Effect of Hepatitis B (HBV) on Life Insurance
Of course, we should know that the pre-condition to getting life insurance is going to be your health status. Although it is not the only factor to be considered, however, it is a very important one.
Seniors with hepatitis B are not left out of getting one too; you even stand the chance of qualifying for standard life insurance rates. The crucial thing to know is that you must have adequate knowledge of the process of application. Also, adjust your lifestyle accordingly to stand a chance of receiving the best possible rate.
HBV can result in serious life-threatening conditions and presently we have no known cure for it. As a result, seniors with this disease will generally pay higher rates for an insurance policy. The reason is that HBV combined with any other ailment can have you classed as high risk for any insurer.
Notwithstanding, we have patients that are able to recover completely from the virus, and were afforded a standard rate of life insurance.
How Insurer Underwrite for Hepatitis B
For life insurance, the underwriting process hinges on various factors that influence the insurer’s decision.
These factors are:
- The age at which you were diagnosed
- What are the treatments you have undergone?
- Are you on any medications presently and what are they?
- Average LFT readings.
- What is the frequency of testing and treatment and the follow-up?
Other additional data may be requested by your insurance company like health records and other necessary documents.
The most probable scenario if accepted for life insurance is that you pay a rate more than the average premium rate. However, there are cases in which you get to pay standard rates should you be in very good condition and managing it well.
You are likely to have a positive outcome on the condition that you are on treatment for HBV or have gone through one. Additionally, it reflects on your record that you have fulfilled your routine check-ups based on your specialist recommendation.
Furthermore, it is crucial that you demonstrate several changes you have made to your lifestyle choices such as giving up tobacco and hard drinks.
If the HBV is successfully cleared from the body, candidates will be classed non-rated. However in cases of continued infection but normal liver function tests, candidates will probably be table-rated (applicants are charged standard rate along with a certain percentage).
The Effect of Hepatitis C (HCV) on Life Insurance
In most cases, the insurer will decide whether you can get approval for life insurance with HCV depending on the state of your liver and if the infection is in remission or not. Every insurance firm has different considerations for HCV patients. The older firms are likely to look down on seniors with HCV more positively due to higher experience with dealing with such cases.
As a senior, if your liver is still in a very good state with little damage and the infection is on continuous remission. You have a higher chance of getting better competitive rates for life insurance with hepatitis C.
If your liver is directly affected by the hep C virus resulting in minor liver damage, you are likely to be assigned a higher risk profile compared to patients whose situation is not dire.
Higher risk profile candidates seeking life insurance most times also get the coverage they seek. However, such candidates could be asked for their latest liver biopsy test results to ascertain the level of liver damage. Recent test results will allow an adequate evaluation of your current state of health. Some firms could accept results of up to five years.
Since HCV also affects the liver in a different way to HBV, the underwriting process will be planned accordingly too.
Unlike HBV, HCV has no vaccine but can be treated, and it has demonstrated that mortality is reduced upon fruitful treatment process. Also, treatment reduces the chance of undergoing a liver transplant, cases of liver cancer and liver damage.
How Insurer Underwrite for Hepatitis C
There are certain factors most insurance firms will consider during the underwriting process when assessing senior with hep C. These factors include:
- Checking for liver cirrhosis, inflammation or fibrosis.
- The age you were first diagnosed.
- Liver biopsy test result.
- The treatment option you have gone through.
- Lab records.
These factors among others depending on insurance firms are considered by underwriters to fix the rate you will pay to get an insurance policy. It is crucial to understand the policy that fits your needs before keying into a life insurance policy.
The Effect of Hepatitis A (HAV) on Life Insurance
HAV is different from the first two viral hepatitis in the way it is transmitted and the way it affects the liver as well as the underwriting process. The hep A virus is contracted by coming in contact with infected feces. It can easily spread from contaminated water or food and poor personal hygiene.
Although there is no known cure for HAV, however, it is a self-limiting disease and will go away naturally in most cases. Additionally, it doesn’t result in chronic liver infection.
The Underwriting Process for Hepatitis A
In the case of HAV where the rate of recovery of patients is very high and no lasting effect is left on the liver. Candidates that are fully recovered are rated non-rated, which means that the fact the candidate has had HAV doesn’t matter.
The Option of No Exam Life Insurance
It is quite possible in some cases for candidates with HBV and HCV to go for no exam life insurance policy where no medical examination is required. This option is useful for seniors that have discovered some extent of liver damage in their test result. However, this option is more costly compared to exam life insurance policy.
Depending on the insurance firm, you can expect to get a rating and underwriting process that is a bit different. This can result in a great difference in the quotes you will get from each insurance firm.
Candidate infected with HBV could get lower rates from one firm and a higher rate from another firm. You need to diligently comb out insurance firms with competitive premiums.