Getting Life Insurance With Hepatitis C


As is the case with any type of health-related condition, hepatitis can complicate the process of applying for life insurance. However, it’s important to understand that a hepatitis diagnosis does not mean that you cannot get life insurance. There are various types of hepatitis, that occur to different degrees, and when matched with the right insurance company, getting a life insurance policy is entirely possible.

What is Hepatitis?

In general, hepatitis is a virus that infects the liver. There are three primary types of hepatitis:

Hepatitis A. This is usually a mild form of the disease. It infects the liver, but in most cases it goes away on its own and does not cause long-term complications. There are rare cases in which hepatitis A can be more serious. The virus is spread when a person consumes food or liquids that have come in contact with infected fecal matter. This can happen from eating in a restaurant where an employee fails to wash his hands after leaving the restroom and before returning to work.

Hepatitis B. This is also a mild form of the condition. Not only does it last for a relatively short time, but most people who have even the chronic variety have no symptoms. However, the virus can cause a long-term infection (chronic hepatitis B), which if left untreated can lead to liver damage or even liver cancer. Hepatitis B can be spread through the blood of an infected person, or through sexual contact with an infected person. It is usually revealed by a blood test, that lets you know if you have it or have had it in the past.

Hepatitis C. This variation is generally the most severe of the three. It comes about through being exposed to infected blood, or by sharing needles. If left untreated, it can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, liver cancer or liver failure. What makes hepatitis C even more difficult is the fact that most people who have the acute version don’t even know that they have it, and fail to get treatment.

Hepatitis C is treated with a combination of antiviral medicines that fight the infection and prevent more serious outcomes. They’re typically used for 12 weeks to one year to enable your body to rid itself of the virus.

However, treatment will depend upon how damaged your liver is, other health conditions that you have, how much of the virus you have in your body, and what type of the disease that you have. This is because the medicines used to treat hepatitis C are expensive and can cause serious side effects. In addition, the drugs don’t work in every case. For this reason, a hepatitis C diagnosis can be life-changing, requiring help and support to deal with it.

Naturally, it’s hepatitis C that causes the most issues in regard to applying for life insurance. This is because both hepatitis A and B are usually temporary in nature.

How Life Insurance Companies Consider Hepatitis

Insurance companies are careful when reviewing applications for people with hepatitis, but mainly hepatitis C. This is at least in part because there are so many variables attached to the condition, including severity, existing damage, or uncertainty about future treatment. An insurance company will typically rate (charge a higher premium) a policy for person who has hepatitis C.

But that doesn’t mean that your application will be declined because you have the condition.

The life insurance company will want to know the following:

  • When you were initially diagnosed with the condition
  • The level of the condition – chronic persistent hepatitis C, acute viral hepatitis C, or active hepatitis C
  • Your level of consumption of alcohol (particularly since it can have a negative effect on your liver)
  • Tests performed in regard to your condition
  • Treatments you are having or have received for the condition, including any ongoing medications
  • The results of any liver function enzyme tests that have been performed
  • The extent of any liver damage as a result of the condition
  • The existence of any other medical conditions in conjunction with hepatitis C
  • Your overall health condition

A physical exam performed by the insurance company will include analysis of blood and urine samples. They may even request that a liver biopsy be performed to determine the extent of the damage to your liver. They will be looking for any information that supports that the condition is being properly managed and does not present a serious and immediate risk.

Applying for Life Insurance With a History of Hepatitis

If you do have hepatitis C, it is extremely important that you are following any prescribed treatments for the condition. Of course, this is not just for your life insurance application, but in order to preserve your life. One of the complications with hepatitis C is that there is no permanent cure for the condition, so proper management is absolutely essential.

As is the case with any type of health condition, including hepatitis C, you should be very proactive in managing your overall health. That means maintaining a normal body weight, eating properly, getting regular exercise, and avoiding behaviors that might impair your health, such as smoking, drug use, or excess alcohol consumption. You should also be doing what is necessary to treat any other health-related issues that you have.

You will almost certainly have a better chance of having your application approved if you apply for a term policy with a relatively short term, such as five or 10 years.

Choosing the Right Life Insurance Company is Critical

Insurance industry insiders know that there are certain insurance companies that will take a more favorable view of certain chronic health conditions, such as hepatitis C. They are companies that specialize in high risk life insurance, and they consider issuing such policies to be a significant part of their business.

Simply applying to a well-known insurance company is not a guarantee of getting approval if you have hepatitis C. Unless that company specializes in writing policies for hepatitis C patients, your application will almost certainly be declined.

The other advantage to applying with insurance companies that take high risk clients is that the policies are likely to have lower premiums. A company may have a deeper understanding of hepatitis C, and be willing to approve more policies at lower premium rates than most other companies will.

Be Sure to Choose the Right Life Insurance Agent

The main issue in getting approval for life insurance when you have hepatitis C is knowing exactly which companies favor people who have the condition. As a rule, people who do not work in the insurance industry (and even many who do) don’t know who those companies are.

Working with the right life insurance agent is your first best step to getting approval on your life insurance application with an affordable premium. That will take an agent who not only knows who the hepatitis C-friendly insurance companies are, but knows enough of them to increase your chance of getting the policy that you want. Give us a call and put us to work for you!