As with most medical conditions, applying for life insurance with hepatitis can result in increased rates or having the application declined. The good news is that even those with hepatitis C can be insured, however, it will highly depend upon the type, whether it’s acute or chronic, and the liver function results. If you have hepatitis and are looking for life insurance, this post is for you.
What Is Hepatitis?
Hepatitis refers to liver inflammation. The cause is usually a viral infection, but drugs and other toxins such as alcohol can also contribute to it. The disease can be acute, viral, or chronic. There are vaccines for hepatitis A and B but not for hepatitis C.
The symptoms are a loss of appetite, fatigue, joint pain, and muscle aches to name a few. In others, liver inflammation is silent and is only discovered upon routine blood test such as with a life insurance exam. There are five forms of hepatitis. However, I will discuss the three most common ones:
- Hepatitis A (HAV) is spread through direct contact of contaminated food or water. Most cases resolve independently and do not progress to chronic liver disease.
- Hepatitis B (HBV) is spread through blood transmission and sexual contact. It can also be transmitted from a mother to child during birth. Most individuals do recover independently and become immune.
- Hepatitis C (HCV) is spread through shared infected needles among drug users, sexual contact, or contaminated blood products. About 25% can resolve without the use of prescriptions, the remainder are regarded as chronic hepatitis and require some therapy for the ailment. Anytime it persists more than six months, it is deemed to be chronic hepatitis.
What Are the Insurance Companies Looking for When Insuring Individuals with Hepatitis?
Insurance companies are taking a risk by insuring individuals. After all, they are in the life insurance business. However, they are not willing to take any risk. Therefore, they have a process in which they do their due diligence.
In insurance lingo, it’s called “the underwriting process.” Each health ailment calls for different questions you will need to be prepared to answer. Let’s take a look at the issues the underwriter will address.
1. Date of First Diagnosis
The underwriter is trying to assess whether or not you can be insured. Typically, to be considered for coverage, a person must have had acute hepatitis (less than six months) and is also recovered independently or via antiviral therapy.
Anytime you have chronic hepatitis (longer than six months), you will be challenged to get a traditional policy.
2. Results of the Most Recent Liver Enzyme Tests
Any liver abnormalities will call for extra clarification from the underwriter. Below are a few of the tests the underwriter will ask you about:
- AST/SGOT is a blood test that measures the levels aspartate aminotransferase in the blood. If there are too many enzymes, it a clear indication of a damaged liver. Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) is an enzyme that is found primarily in the heart and liver. When the liver cells are infected, it generates extra AST into the blood, which the test can expose. Healthy ranges for males 10 to 40 units per liter, and for females, 9 to 32 u/l.
- ALT/SGPT is a blood test that measures an enzyme called alanine transaminase. Just like this first test, anytime it’s released into the bloodstream in high quantities, it indicates liver damage.
- GGTP is a blood test that measures an enzyme called Gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase (GGTP) in your blood. This is also a part of the liver panel which may show liver damage.
3. Are You on Any Medications?
Medication usage indicates severity and control of the ailment. There are a few types, such as antiviral medications or Interferon injections, depending on the type and severity of hepatitis.
From the underwriter’s standpoint, anytime you are on antiviral medication, you have a better chance for approval at a standard rate or better.
4. Do You Drink Alcohol?
Keep in mind that, whether you have hepatitis or not, the underwriter will still ask this question. Nonetheless, this is a dangerous cocktail to have while you have hepatitis and will most likely result in a declined application.
5. Have You Been Diagnosed with Any of the Following?
- Chronic hepatitis is inflammation that lasts at least six months. With this situation, expect to get a table rating from B–H, depending on your age, liver enzymes elevation, and liver biopsy results.
- Cirrhosis is also called irreversible scarring. Anytime the liver is damaged, it tries to repair itself by creating new tissue. As cirrhosis progresses, the tissue’s repair prevents the liver from functioning, which can result in liver failure. With this condition, your application will be denied, and you may want to opt for guaranteed acceptance life insurance.
What Other Questions Will the Underwriter Ask?
Hepatitis isn’t the only health issue the underwriter will ask about. Assessing the overall risk you pose to the insurer has many pieces. Below are a few more questions you should be aware of:
- Current age
- State of residence
- Height and weight
- Income and liabilities
- High-risk hobbies (if any)
- Current and past health history
- Family history
- Foreign travel
- Smoking habits
- Alcohol habits
- Driving history
- Criminal history
- Prescription usage
What Rate Class Can I Qualify for If I Have Hepatitis?
This part is the most complicated, and I advise you to take it with a grain of salt and not as a binding offer. The type of hepatitis and medication usage along with the tests you have completed will only be a starting point in estimating the rate class.
Nonetheless, below are a few examples you should expect if hepatitis is your only condition:
- Hepatitis A and B completely resolved with no evidence of the virus in the blood can get a preferred rating.
- Hepatitis C cured by antiviral can get a preferred rating six months after treatment.
- Hepatitis B if antigen remain positive and liver enzymes are healthy, you can get table B to H. Older ages can qualify for a standard classification.
Life Insurance with Hepatitis Sample Monthly Rates
40-Year-Old Male Nonsmoker on a 20-Year Term
40-Year-Old Female Nonsmoker on a 20-Year Term
50-Year-Old Male Nonsmoker on a 20-Year Term
50-Year-Old Female Nonsmoker on a 20-Year Term
60-Year-Old Male Nonsmoker on a 20-Year Term
60-Year-Old Female Nonsmoker on a 20-Year Term
Life insurance may be one of the most important decisions you can make for your loved ones. I can’t tell you how many times I get a phone call in which I have to say, “Sorry, I don’t have any policy to offer—you will not be able to receive a traditional policy because of your health conditions.”
My point is simple: If you have someone who depends on you financially, you need to buy life insurance. We never know when our time arrives or how we will pass away, but at least you wouldn’t find yourself in a situation where you need a life policy but can’t get it.
If you have hepatitis or any pre-existing condition for that matter, run the quotes yourself on this page to get an idea of the prices.