Life insurance companies now selling to HIV patients in US and Canada

John Hancock in the United States and Manulife in Canada have both announced the lifting of the exclusion.

On Friday, HIV patients received some good news from life insurance companies in the United States and Canada, as John Hancock Insurance and Manulife have both stated that they will be removing their exclusion for these patients.

This is the second insurer in the U.S. to make this announcement and the first ever in Canada.

On Friday, John Hancock Insurance said that it will be offering its policies to people who are living with HIV, making it the second among major life insurance companies in the United States to make this move. For decades, HIV patients have been an excluded population from this type of coverage. That said, the insurer, which is based in Boston, has now stated that applicants who meet certain criteria for eligibility and who are between the ages of 30 and 65 years old will now be able to purchase coverage of as much as $2 million.

The life insurance companies won’t automatically sell to every HIV patient, but eligibility for the policies is possible.

HIV life insurance companies policy AIDS red ribbonAccording to John Hancock, applicants who want to purchase life insurance will be required to show a “favorable and stable clinical course,” which will involve the practice of strictly adhering to antiretroviral medications and will need to show an absence of other chronic disease or immune-suppression.

That said, Susan Ghalili, the chief underwriter for the insurance company, explained that “These are the same products we’re offering to the rest of our customers,” adding that “This is a very small step in the right direction for people who haven’t been able to get life insurance. It’s not that it’s a big market, but it’s a relevant market for us. It’s an underserved market.”

In Canada, Manulife has become the first among life insurance companies to take the step of offering its coverage to customers living with HIV. The insurer issued a press release that explained its decision following the most recent long-term survival and mortality rates of Canadians who have tested HIV-positive. This allowed them to build a better perspective on the risk profiles of individuals living with HIV, now recognizing it as a kind of manageable chronic disease (when proper medication is used) instead of a terminal illness.

According to Manulife CEO Marianne Harrison, “Manulife was the first insurer to underwrite people with diabetes, and we are continuing in that tradition by making life insurance a possibility for the more than 75,000 Canadians who have tested HIV-positive.” Harrison also added that the life insurance provider is “working closely with our colleagues in the United States at John Hancock,” in order to build the most accurate perspective in covering this population.

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