The financial services company AEQUALIS recently announced on World AIDS Day that it will now offer life insurance plans for HIV-positive individuals. According to a Reuters report, the life insurance policies will be offered as part of a partnership between AEQUALIS and Prudential Financial Inc. This partnership is particularly significant because HIV-positive individuals were subject to automatic denial under prior insurance coverages.
"Life insurance plans will now be offered for HIV-positive individuals."
New life insurance plans with HIV-positive individuals
HIV-positive applicants who qualify for the coverage are offered the same plans as all consumers. These people will now be eligible for 10- and 15-year individual convertible term life insurance plans. According to a Reuters interview with Andrew Terrell, CEO of AEQUALIS, while these are revolutionary policies, they are slightly more expensive than most life insurance plans.
"[They're] not cheap, but they're not prohibitively expensive either," Terrell explained. "People with HIV [have] much longer life expectancies than insurance companies gave them credit for."
New research suggests longer life spans
Recent studies by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine showed that HIV-positive individuals diagnosed at a young age today may live into their 70s or beyond. According to a separate Reuters interview with Dr. Michelle Cespedes of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, these treatments involve therapies that will cure conditions that occur as a result of HIV affliction.
"There are more and more clinical trials looking at how we can intervene on these comorbidities," Cespedes stated.
Specifically, there are several new tests and treatments for cardiovascular disease among HIV-positive individuals. While it is not clear how the human immunodeficiency virus impacts or accelerates the aging process, there are also mental health issues associated with HIV-positive individuals, particularly with those survivors who have lived with the virus for many years.
Medical advances make the new life insurance policies viable
The goal of the new life insurance policy is that Prudential and AEQUALIS can offer plans to HIV-positive individuals just as they would to other consumers. According to a Life Health interview with Mike McFarland, chief underwriting officer for Prudential Individual Life Insurance, these medical advancements have made it possible for standard, non-specialized life insurance plans to be offered to HIV-positive individuals.
"As medical technology advances, we continuously evaluate and update our underwriting criteria, which has resulted in our ability to offer insurance to people dealing with various medical or chronic conditions," McFarland asserted. "With advances in the successful treatment of people with HIV, we are now able to offer this population the opportunity to apply for life insurance - a milestone we see as a significant step in the right direction."
What has been proven with these life insurance plans is that while HIV is a chronic virus, it is manageable.