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  • If I have Hepatitis C, could I get life insurance?
  • February 28, 2013
  • insurance company blood test results for Hep CTHE UNDERWRITING PROCESS

    For those who apply for life insurance and have been diagnosed or are living with HCV, Davidson at The Hartford says an underwriter would want to know how the person’s liver function is now.

    Other lesser-known facts about HEP C

    o HEP C can be transmitted via dried blood… The CDC reports that HEP C can remain on outside surfaces for up to 16 hours and 4 days.

    o Exposure to body fluids can heighten the risk of HEP C, but only if there are traces of blood in these fluids.

    o Blood from an infected, open wound, when blood is splashed in the eye or from mucous membranes can transmit the HCV virus.

    o To prevent an HCV infection blood should be cleaned with a 10 percent bleach solution (I part bleach, 9 parts water) and you should wear latex gloves.

    o HCV cannot be inhaled, ingested or swallowed.

    o HCV cannot be contracted from dog or cat bites.

    o HEP C is strictly passed along from blood-to-blood exposure.

    “The underwriter would want to know if there is any inflammation of liver cells. Also, they would want to know if the individual has seen a doctor about it and if the doctor decided to do a biopsy,” said Davidson. “If the biopsy is benign and the liver function test is ok, we would offer a low substandard rating, but in cases where the person is doing really well and the viral count is low or seemingly non-existent, they could get a standard rating. It really depends on the prognosis of the individual.”

    When someone with HCV is treated, the doctor measures the viral count or, in other words, how many copies of the virus are in the blood.

    “If there are no virus particles in the blood, then that person is probably in remission,” says Davidson.

    Davidson adds that an insurer may also take into account how much alcohol a person drinks on a regular basis that has been diagnosed with HCV, since alcohol aggravates damage to the liver.

    “Our rule of thumb is less than five drinks per week,” said Davidson.

    A life insurer may deny an applicant for life insurance if they have an extremely high liver function, or the biopsy shows fibrous tumors or scarring, this is typically a sign that the person is at end-stage cirrhosis of the liver. It could also mean liver cancer.

    The data from the CDC underscores the urgent need to address the health threat posed by chronic Hepatitis B and C in the United States:
    o Millions of Americans are infected with viral hepatitis, but many do not know it and may suffer serious health consequences.

    o Chronic hepatitis is a leading and preventable cause of premature death in the United States.

    o Over time, untreated viral hepatitis can lead to costly care and treatments, and lifetime costs can total hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    o Early detection and intervention can be cost-effective and reduce mortality for this deadly illness.


    The primary difference between Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C is that in 80 percent of the cases, people with HEP B recover from the disease without treatment, with only 20 percent who develop chronic liver disease.  Those numbers are reversed with HEP C.

    “Eighty percent of people are afflicted with chronic liver disease and 20 percent go into remission from the disease,” said Davidson.

    HCV is commonly treated with antiviral therapies that include Peg-IFN/Ribavirin drug treatments. Unfortunately, treatment for HCV can be pricey at a cost of up to 30,000 dollars.

    Pages: 1 2

  • Category: Featured Story, Life Insurance

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