Can I still get life insurance if I am HIV positive?

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There are 7.2 million people in South Africa who are HIV positive and 270,000 new HIV infections occurred in 2018 alone. Many people can get access to antiretroviral treatment to help keep their CD4 count under control, but what does this mean for someone who wants to get a life insurance policy? Here is what you need to know.

Getting life insurance when you are HIV positive

HIV is no longer a death sentence and research has also revealed that people who are positive can live just as long as people who are HIV negative. This also means that people who are positive can get access to life insurance to offer financial protection to their loved one when they are no longer around. MiWayLife CEO Craig Baker breaks down the process of getting life insurance when you are HIV positive.

“Insurers look at various factors before they determine whether they will be able to cover someone who is HIV positive or not. This occurs during the underwriting process where we analyse your health and lifestyle. Thankfully, HIV is manageable. Therefore, people who actively take care of their health and prescribed medicine to improve their life will be able to get access to life insurance,” says Baker.

What are the requirements?

Most insurers look at the CD4 count and other details that come up during the underwriting process to determine if they can approve your application. This will also determine if a specific loading will be applied to a client’s policy.

You will be asked to get a test done to confirm your status. “If the CD4 count is below 250 you may have your policy declined. It is important that you be honest during the underwriting process to get the correct cover for you. It can also help you avoid having your claim rejected during the claims process due to dishonest information,” Baker.

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How much can I get covered for?

The amount for which you can get cover for ranges from R1.5 million to R5 million. When looking for a life insurance policy it is also equally important to check the features that come with it to ensure that you are getting adequate cover that will be able to assist your loved ones when you are no longer around.

What will happen to my policy should I find out later that I am HIV positive?

“There are many changes that happen in life which is something insurers keep in mind. Therefore, you can get access to a policy that is created to adapt to such changes. If you took out a policy when you were negative and found out later that you are positive your policy will not be affected as long as you were honest from the inception of the policy about your status,” states Baker.

Insurers and the insurance industry has come a long way to provide cover for all South African’s. No insurer can discriminate against you because you are HIV positive. However, the onus is on you to take care of your health by following the prescription given to you by an authorised doctor to ensure that you live a long and healthy life.

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