Hepatitis C is a virus that causes a severe inflammation of the liver.
It is caused by a variety of things including bad blood transfusions, sharing of needles in drug use, drugs that are toxic, alcohol, allergic reactions and autoimmune effects of diseases.
There are two other common hepatitis viruses, A and B which are not as chronic as Hep C.
The early stages of Hep C go largely unnoticed by the person affected, and it can go on for quite a while with the individual not even realizing that they are affected.
After the earlier stage of no symptoms, 50 to 80 percent of people go on and progress into the chronic stage where the liver has a serious infection, and chronic liver disease is the result.
Learn more about Hepatitis C below and make sure to use our free insurance quote tool above!
What is the Treatment for Hepatitis C?
The treatment for Hepatitis C is dependent upon how damaged your liver is, the level of the virus that you have currently in your body, other health conditions you have, and the type of Hep C that you have.
The medication can be very toxic and can have some serious side effects. It doesn’t always work for everybody, and it can be very expensive.
Very few people are treated for the disease in its early stages because they are unaware that they have the disease.
Treatment for the long-term phase of Hep C includes long regimens of antiviral drugs along with routine blood tests to continually monitor the disease.
It can take up to 20 years for the disease to become full blown, and if it gets too serious, a liver transplant is the only solution for a cure.
There are newer treatments for the Hep C virus which include a treatment called “pegylated interferon” and “ribavirin.”
Used in combination, it has had success as it causes the virus in Hep C to be unable to reproduce.
Even with this treatment, it is not for everyone, as it is available to only 50 to 60 percent of people who have Hep C.
What is the Function of Our Liver?
Think of your liver as a large filter, as everything that we put into our bodies goes through the liver on its way to our digestive system.
It is the largest processor of nutrients in our body, and it also has to filter out all of the bad stuff like alcohol, drugs, fatty foods and excess sugar.
The bottom line for our liver is that when items pass through it, the elements are either reprocessed for use in the body, or it is eliminated.
The liver is most remarkable as it is always working. It cleans the blood from impurities that are contained in it.
It eliminates the bad stuff and keeps the good stuff. It also produces bile which is an important ingredient for digestion.
The organ also stores energy in the form of glycogen. We can help to keep our liver healthy by cutting down on eating transfats and stoking up on vegetables and fruits.
How Do Life Insurance Companies Feel About Insuring People Who Have Hep C?
The life insurance company underwriter is going to be very careful when reviewing an application for someone who has hepatitis C.
This is simply because there are so many variables in the disease.
How long the disease has been affecting the person, previous alcohol history, results of liver enzyme tests, blood tests, overall health and the level of the condition currently are all items to be considered.
Work With A Broker
It is most likely that an individual who has been diagnosed at any stage of hepatitis C will be a ratable prospect.
Of course, there are many facets of the disease and the treatment, but it is possible for a person to get a reasonable rating and be covered.
It should be emphasized that it is best to work with an experienced life insurance broker who can put the prospective applicant’s case before more than one life insurance company for analysis.
Different companies treat a similar case differently because they have different philosophies and directives as to how they handle risks.
It is the responsibility of the broker to bring his client to the various companies in the best light of the situation.
He or she must be willing to do the research and find out which companies will give his client the best deal. His client should be pre-qualified with the companies before he has to make any commitment financially.
Companies can give parameters of coverage when they have enough information about a particular client’s medical situation.
It is a little like the insurance companies are applying for the position of having the broker’s client as their boss.
At least the broker and the client can get a good idea of what is available in the marketplace for that one person and condition.
Information your Broker and Insurance Company Underwriter Needs
The following is some of the information that is very helpful to provide to a candidate’s life insurance broker in order for them to shop different life insurance companies for the best coverage available:
- The initial date of diagnosis
- The dates and the results of the most recent liver enzyme tests
- Current drinking – any alcohol?
- Any current medications?
- Completion of liver CT scan or ultrasound, liver biopsy, or viral load?
- Has there been a diagnosis of chronic hepatitis or cirrhosis?
- Has there been any treatment with antiviral drugs or interferon?
- Copies of any hepatitis studies or liver biopsy reports
Today roughly 3.5 million Americans are living with hepatitis C, an approximately 20,000 people die each year from the disease.
Hepatitis C will only be as treatable as people become more aware of it and medical facilities become more aware of its presence.
While roughly 15 percent of those who are affected will have a spontaneous recovery, the rest will go on to suffer from some level of the disease.
Where the life insurance underwriter becomes concerned is the fact that Hepatitis C leads to such chronic conditions as cirrhosis of the liver, cancer, and ultimate decline of liver function to the point of death or liver transplant.
While there are treatments available, they are still not totally efficient and can be harmful in and of themselves.
This is why in most cases where Hepatitis C is full blown and present, the result will be a decline from an underwriting standpoint when it comes to being covered by life insurance.
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