Millions of Americans see the benefit of life insurance, but it's not always easy for them to actually obtain it, for one reason or another. One sizable group that may want life insurance but has long been locked out of the market is the nearly 2 million who have been diagnosed as HIV-positive. For many years, it was effectively impossible for them to get approved for coverage, but now more life insurers are softening on the prospect.
This is due in large part to the fact that medical advancements made in the past decade or more have taken an HIV-positive diagnosis from, frankly, a death sentence to a more manageable, if chronic, condition, according to a report from The Huffington Post. Meanwhile, efforts to normalize and raise awareness of the disease have been effective as well, and that has helped to change many insurers' minds in recent years.
What options are available?
For these reasons, the number of life insurance options that are within reach for those living with HIV are growing, and therefore can vary widely, the report said. Coverage options like group plans through employers, or those with relatively small death benefits, have been available for years (though often criticized as not going far enough to protect these people financially), but more standard options are starting to come into play as well.
Nonetheless, such a diagnosis can cause some problems when it comes to getting coverage, especially because many policy providers that require physical exams, and some with HIV who otherwise have unhealthy habits might still find themselves rejected, the report said. The good news, though, is that relatively young, healthy HIV-positive people might only see that condition raise something of a red flag for insurers to monitor, rather than having that diagnosis be an immediate disqualifier.
A growing trend
Anecdotal evidence suggests that life insurers in the U.S. lag a little behind those in other parts of the world when it comes to issuing policies to those with HIV, but more recently, some of the nation's largest providers have made big moves into this kind of policy issuing, potentially setting an example for the rest of the American life insurance industry. This is, of course, a potentially massive pool of hopeful life insurance policyholders, so there's financial incentive there for providers as well. But overall, this trend is quite likely to be a net positive for both the life insurance industry and the people living with this disease.
Like a lot of Americans, those with HIV likely see the benefit in life insurance, even if they spent decades being unable to tap that resource. The more options people dealing with HIV have for getting a stronger grip on their financial future, the better off they're likely to be. Allowing them to buy coverage will also help to speed along the general recovery of the life insurance industry that has been observed in the last year or two as well.