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Prudential to offer individual life insurance to people with HIV

Prudential-to-offer-individPrudential to offer individual life insurance to people with HIV

Names of people who have died of AIDS on San Francisco’s Castro Street. Prudential’s action shows that AIDS is becoming a chronic but treatable condition. 

(Credit Justin Sullivan, Getty Images)

By Gina Ferazzi, Los Angeles Times

In a first from a major American insurer, Prudential Financial will offer traditional individual life insurance policies to eligible people living with HIV, reports Kaiser Health News.

Although Prudential didn’t release specifics regarding pricing and eligibility requirements, it’s assumed the cost would be higher than for a person who does not have HIV.

Still, Kaiser noted that the announcement is a sign that HIV is increasingly viewed as a manageable chronic disease in-stead of a death sentence.

Prudential will offer convertible 10- or 15-year term life insurance to HIV-positive people who are otherwise healthy. According to Kaiser, an HIV diagnosis often results in an automatic denial of higher-value individual insurance policies. Legally, insurers cannot exclude people with HIV from what is called “guaranteed issue” group life insurance, but those are typically valued at less than $50,000.

“We have not yet seen the terms of the life insurance product being offered… but it seems like a fantastic development for people living with HIV in need of term life insurance,” said Scott Schoettes, HIV Project national director at Lambda Legal, an advocacy group for LGBT and HIV/AIDS community.

“Finally, an insurance company has realized that this is the right thing to do and that it is profitable from a business perspective to offer this product to people living with HIV. Now that there is one company out there doing this, it will encourage others to do the same when they see that there is money to be made in this market,” Schoettes told Kaiser.

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