The life insurance industry always tries to keep up with what’s going on in the world. This is why non-medical insurance was introduced and why certain changes in life insurance for people with HIV came to be.

Thankfully, in 2016 Manulife Financial began accepting life insurance applications from individuals who had tested positive for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

This innovative step is just another way that Manulife has set a precedent; they were also the first insurer to underwrite individuals with type 1 diabetes.

There are many criteria that go into underwriting. Manulife explained how they reached this latest decision with regard to mortality rates:

“Manulife looked at the latest mortality and long-term survival rates of HIV-positive Canadians and with enhanced analytics, gained a better perspective on individual risk profiles.”

Marianne Harrison, president and CEO of Manulife Canada, said that as Manulife continues to build on the strength of their analytics, they slowly stop relying on traditional underwriting.

As they go forward, they will offer life insurance coverage that is customized to each consumer’s risk.

Life insurance eligibility for HIV-positive Canadians.

There are more than 75,000 Canadians who have tested positive for HIV, and potential eligibility for life insurance benefits are long overdue for many.

Following Manulife’s announcement, Sun Life was quick to follow suit and now also sells life insurance to eligible HIV-positive Canadians.

What does this mean for people with HIV buying life insurance in Canada?

If you have tested positive for HIV and fit the criteria, you may now qualify for up to $2 million in life insurance. This includes all life insurance types (whole life, term, etc.).

It is important to note that if you qualify, you will be charged higher premiums than someone who doesn’t have any illnesses—this is typical with a number of illnesses and conditions such as smoking or heart disease.

If you’re a smoker, you may be interested in learning more about non-medical life insurance for smokers.

In addition to the regular life insurance application, you will be required to disclose that you are HIV-positive and complete a medical questionnaire. The good news is the rates will vary based on your individual situation.

Qualifying criteria for life insurance if you are HIV-positive.

Below is the list of Manulife’s criteria for life insurance for people with HIV:

  • Self-disclosed diagnosis
  • You have been under the care of a specialist and compliant with ART (antiretroviral therapy) for at least 5 years.
  • Viral load undetectable for the last 2 years and current CD4 count ≥350 Current negative Hepatitis B & C testing and no history of hepatitis.  No viral resistance to treatment
  • You have no comorbid medical conditions such as heart disease, cancer or diabetes.
  • No history of IV drug use, alcohol abuse, or substance abuse.

When this change was announced in 2016, it was amazing news for people with HIV who would now have the opportunity to purchase coverage through Manulife.

At Shelter Bay Financial Corp., we understand that life insurance applications are stressful, and the process is not easy to understand. This is why we pride ourselves on simplifying the process.

If you’ve tested positive for HIV in Canada, and would like to find out more about how to apply for life insurance policies, please give us a call 1.888.498.5288.

This article was originally published on May 19, 2017, and has been updated.