The Difficulty of Life Insurance for HIV-Positive Individuals
July 15, 2016
Life Insurance is a policy that will pay out a lump sum to a nominated beneficiary when the policyholder passes away. This principle applies even if the deceased was HIV-positive.
Scientists isolated the HIV in 1983. Scientists believe it’s origin to be in the central and western parts of Africa. HIV is transmitted through the exchange of bodily fluids, mainly sexually.
In 2016, buying life insurance if you are HIV-positive is not as difficult as most people believe it to be. Ten years ago it was almost impossible to get life cover that was affordable. Having AIDS meant a death sentence was hanging over your head.
ARVs Changed Lives of HIV-Positive People
With ARVs (Anti-Retroviral Therapy) people can live long, healthy lives. Adherence to the treatment also becomes much easier as people no longer need to take ten tablets a day. Today it has been reduced to just one but with the same effect.
Almost 15 years ago, South Africa became the first country in the world to offer people living with HIV life insurance.
HIV cover was originally very expensive. Insurance companies believed that individuals who had tested positively were at a higher risk of dying young. There was a lack of data enabling them to determine the HIV-positive person’s life expectancy. People with HIV paid about 50% more for life cover than their HIV-negative counterparts.
The past thirty years have shown that HIV-positive people can live lives as productively as those that test negative.
Six companies in SA now offer affordable cover to HIV-positive individuals.
HIV terms and abbreviations
- CD4 count. (The degree of immunity your body can provide)
▪ A healthy person’s CD4 count is between 400 and 1,700 cells/mm3.
▪ A CD4 count of below 300 means that the body’s immune system is compromised, and is open to picking up all kinds of infections.
- Viral Load. (the amount of the HIV present in your body)
▪ This blood test, done with the CD4 count, will determine your body’s ability to cope with sickness and disease.
▪ If <40, the virus is not able to be measured and is as a result of antiretroviral therapy suppressing the virus.
- ARV’S. (Antiretroviral Therapy)
▪ This treatment, usually started when the CD4 count is under 350, will attack the virus, causing the Viral Load to decrease to less than 40.
▪ This lack of virus in the body will allow the immune system to recover and the CD4 count to subsequently increase.
Facts and Information Regarding HIV Cover
- For the insurance, the person pays a monthly premium. As an example, a 31-year-old female, on ARV’S and following a healthy lifestyle, will get R1,000,000 cover for about R150 per month.
- The premium will depend on age, blood test results, gender, occupation, and adherence to medication.
- Most insurers insist on CD4 and Viral Load blood tests every six months.
- A vital requirement of the insurance companies is that individual must commit to undergoing the treatment.
- If you do not adhere strictly to your six-monthly blood tests and daily medication, the company will reduce the cover to that of cover for death by accidents only.
- Experts estimate that more than 5 million people in South Africa live with HIV.
- HIV cover is now affordable.
- A simple lifestyle, diet changes, and ARVs now prolong life. ARV’S give much fewer side-effects.
- Insurance companies now treat HIV cover on the same basis as they do for those who are Diabetics, or have a chronic heart condition.
It is no longer difficult for an HIV-positive individual to get life cover. Insurance companies have created various packages to suit the individual’s pocket and needs. Get this life cover today. It is not only affordable but readily available to all.
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All info was correct at time of publishing