We don’t need to remind you that hepatitis C is a worrisome condition. Some 3.5 million Americans have contracted this disease, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found hepatitis C is responsible for more Baby Boomer deaths than any other infectious disease.
For a person living with hepatitis C, qualifying for affordable life insurance over age 50 may seem about as likely as winning the next Powerball drawing. Well, this person would be wrong – about the insurance, not the lottery.
First of all, we at Over50LifeInsure.com specialize in helping seniors find highly-rated policies at the best possible rates. And when it comes to those so-called “high-risk applicants” – hepatitis C, for example – we have seen many surprised by approvals.
But let’s be candid here. Is hepatitis C going to have an impact on whether or not your life insurance application is approved?
It very well could.
However, contrary to what many believe, hepatitis C does not automatically disqualify you from receiving life insurance over 50 years of age. Should your application be approved, you will not qualify for the cheapest rates possible. But that doesn’t mean rates for an excellent policy will not be affordable, either.
So, let’s take a closer look…
How Hepatitis C affects life insurance approval
When applying for life insurance with hepatitis C, it is important to have an idea for how insurance companies look at this disease. Obviously, underwriters see this condition as a risk. But remember – we just said that risk doesn’t necessarily mean you will be denied.
The truth is that insurance companies will examine each applicant closely and make a determination about the level of risk involved. Just as no two applicants are ever the same, the level of risk will vary from one to the next.
For example, if you smoke or drink alcohol with hepatitis C, your application will more than likely be denied.
On the other hand, abstaining from these activities while meeting certain other criteria could greatly improve your chances.
Insurance companies are going to be most interested in whether or not your hepatitis C is in remission and how much damage, if any, your liver has sustained from this disease. Some of the questions an underwriter will need to have answered are:
- When were you diagnosed with the disease?
- Is your hepatitis C acute viral, chronic persistent, or chronic active?
- How frequently do you see your treating physician?
- Have you had a liver biopsy? If so, what were the results?
- What medications, if any, are you currently taking for this disease?
- How are your liver enzymes?
- Do you smoke or drink alcohol?
- Do you have any other major health concerns?
Any treatments and lab or test results are very important in assessing the risk.
Fortunately, according to the Mayo Clinic, modern medications can often cure chronic hepatitis C. But because medical experts believe nearly half of those living with this disease aren’t even aware they have contracted the infection, a one-time blood test is highly recommended – especially for Baby Boomers born between 1945 and 1965.
Even if you do not have the symptoms of hepatitis C, a blood test is the best prevention.
How to improve the application process with Hepatitis C
The most important thing you should do before applying is to speak with an experienced life insurance specialist. Look for someone who meets the following criteria:
- Experience helping applicants with major medical conditions
- Specializes in over 50 life insurance
- Independent who has partnered with several insurance companies
Inexperienced life insurance agents might consider applicants with hepatitis C to be too high of a risk. We think we have shown here that risk doesn’t always mean rejection. And that is why Over50LifeInsure.com puts a lot of effort into seeing that applicants like you get the same courtesy and consideration as everyone else.
Likewise, age doesn’t matter as much as you might think. We specialize in helping Baby Boomers get the coverage they need at the rates they can afford.
And finally, the surest way to get the best policy with the best rates is to work with an independent life insurance agent. Because we are not limited to the offerings of a single life insurance company, we are able to quickly compare policies from a large number of companies.
This not only saves you time and headaches but could very well save you money, too.
With all of this in mind, it is important to then decide on the type of policy and amount of coverage you need. No two individuals will have exactly the same needs. And a qualified life insurance agent can help you make these determinations.
For example, a specific policy with one company might require a medical exam. These are usually at your convenience, about 20 minutes or so, with the medical examiner visiting your home to administer the tests. And some may request your medical records.
Typically, the examiner will ask some questions about your health. And the tests will likely involve the following:
- Height and weight
- Blood pressure
- Blood sample
- Urine sample
In the event an underwriter does request your medical records, you can help to streamline the application process by gathering the contact information for doctors who have diagnosed and treated your hepatitis C.
If there are other major health concerns, you will want to get that information together as well. Doing so will ensure that you get a much more rapid response to your life insurance application.
On the other hand, many life insurance companies offer no-exam policies. In some cases, these policies that do not require a medical exam might make more sense.
The important thing, however, is to know your options and consult with a life insurance agent who can help you make a decision about what is best for your own unique situation.
Okay. Now that we have a better understanding for how hepatitis C affects your life insurance application and what you can do to improve the process, let’s now take a look at three possible scenarios: best-case, typical, and worst-case.
Please note that we said “possible scenarios.” These are not any kind of guarantee for the decision an underwriter will make regarding your life insurance application. Instead, these following scenarios are what we have commonly seen when helping applicants like yourself qualify for life insurance over 50 years old.
Best-case scenario for life insurance with Hepatitis C
The best policy you might qualify for with hepatitis C is usually Standard Plus rates. But believe it or not, Preferred rates are not entirely out of the question.
Naturally, the best-case scenario will almost certainly require meeting optimal criteria for your disease. This could mean:
- You are over the age of 70
- Your lab results show normal liver function for the last 3 years
- You do not smoke or drink alcohol
- You have no other major health concerns
Again, just because these points may reflect your situation does not guarantee that you will qualify for Standard Plus or Preferred rates. We cannot stress enough that every life insurance company is different, and no two life insurance applications are ever the same.
Instead, this is simply an example of what in our experience has been the best-case scenario for people with hepatitis C when applying for over 50 life insurance.
Typical scenario for life insurance with Hepatitis C
While the above scenario suggests the best-case, we have found that most people with hepatitis C will more accurately fit this scenario when approved for life insurance:
- You are between 40 and 69 years of age
- You have been diagnosed with chronic infection hepatitis C
- You are unaware of the date the disease was contracted
- Your disease has been untreated
- Your liver function tests are within 1.5 times normal rates
As you can see, there are a lot of variables involved. And this is by no means a complete list of what the life insurance company will consider when processing your application. But this is a sample of the typical scenario we see for people with this disease.
In this typical scenario, you might qualify for life insurance with higher rates. Often times people will be approved at a table 3 to a table 5 rate. To get a rough idea of what that might cost run a quote at “regular” and then then double that cost.
You will probably see that just because the rates may be higher doesn’t mean they are unaffordable.
Worst-case scenario for life insurance with Hepatitis C
We think we have been clear about the fact that, unfortunately, not everyone with hepatitis C is going to qualify for life insurance over 50 years of age. So, the worst-case scenario is obviously a denied application. When this happens, it is usually because the following factors were involved:
- Your biopsy found cirrhosis of the liver
- Biopsies have found severe fibrosis within the last 5 years
- You are currently undergoing treatment for hepatitis C
- You also have contracted a hepatitis B infection
- You consume more than 1 alcoholic drink per day
These cases will almost never be considered. However, it does not mean that, in some circumstances, you couldn’t be approved for life insurance in the future.
For example, if you are currently undergoing treatment but do not have these other conditions, you might qualify after successful treatment has ended. This would usually require a period of time to pass without further problems.
Otherwise, you might qualify only for a guaranteed issue policy that would cover burial and other final expenses.
But if there is one takeaway we hope you have gathered here, it is that every life insurance company is different. What two or three insurance companies may deny, another might be able to approve.
What is the next step?
Your situation is unique. And until we have reviewed your circumstances, the only thing we can tell you with absolute certainty is that never applying for life insurance is the surest way of never qualifying.
You must apply.
By working with many of the best life insurance companies, we at Over50LifeInsure.com make it easy shop the best policies for the best rates.
Fill out our simple form for instant quotes, or give us a call today at 714-916-9723.