Covid long-haulers could pay more for life insurance – Forbes Advisor


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An estimated 11.78 million Americans face what’s known as the Long Covid, according to the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. People with long-haul Covid, also known as long-haul Covid, have persistent symptoms of Covid-19 after initial recovery. These symptoms can be as mild as fatigue, cough, fever, or dizziness, or as severe as damage to the heart, lungs, brain, or kidneys.

The still unclear long-term effects of Covid-19 are obviously a health issue. But they could also be a concern for people trying to purchase life insurance. Given the relatively short time that Covid has been identified, much remains uncertain about its impact on the ability of Covid long-haulers to purchase affordable life insurance.

Long-haul Covid, like any chronic illness, could affect how much you pay for life insurance.

“There are a lot of things we don’t know. We are monitoring and studying things very carefully, staying very close to the science directions, ”said Brooks Tingle, President and CEO of John Hancock Insurance.

How Covid Can Affect Life Insurance Buyers

Just having had Covid-19 shouldn’t affect a candidate’s qualification for life insurance or the price they pay for a policy, according to Tingle. On the contrary, he says, life insurers will tend to focus on the underlying medical conditions – conditions that may or may not be linked to Covid-19. These conditions could include heart or lung problems, for example.

Life insurance companies in the United States are asking about Covid-19 on their claims, particularly if the claimant has been diagnosed with Covid or if someone in their household has been. A “yes” response may delay a request, but it does not automatically mean that your request will be denied.

“We don’t want to overreact to the long Covid. But at the same time, it is certainly a dynamic and evolving image, ”says Nico van Zyl, medical director of Hannover Re US, a reinsurance company.

Van Zyl suspects that when it comes to long Covid and life insurance, much of the focus will be on organ damage. Case in point: A study published on September 1 by the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology suggests that people with long-term Covid are at high risk of developing kidney damage and chronic and end-stage kidney disease.

However, so far organ damage is not among the five most common long-term effects of Covid-19. The five most common are fatigue, headaches, disturbance in attention, hair loss and dyspnea (shortness of breath), according to an article published in August in the journal Scientific Reports. In total, researchers have identified 55 possible long-term effects of Covid-19.

“There’s a bit of a chicken and egg thing with Covid,” says Tingle at John Hancock Insurance. “People who had underlying health issues tended to have worse outcomes when they contracted Covid. And in some cases, some people who have had particularly nasty bouts with Covid have had health issues after the fact. “

As such, conditions that were exacerbated or triggered by Covid-19 could affect how much someone pays for life insurance, Tingle says.

“Do I have lung problems? Do I have heart problems? Do I have other chronic illnesses? are examples that Tingle gives.

All of these conditions can affect the rates that life insurance buyers will pay.

If you already have a life insurance policy, your rate cannot be changed because you have had Covid or any other condition. That’s why it’s good to set a rate when you’re younger and healthier, rather than waiting.

An uncertain future

Yet, much remains unknown about how long-term symptoms of Covid will affect a person’s life expectancy, he points out. Life expectancy is one of the factors taken into account by life insurers during the underwriting process. But Tingle says it can take years, even decades, to draw conclusions about the link between life expectancy and a certain health problem, like cancer or heart disease.

Questions about the impact of the long Covid come amid heightened interest in life insurance among Americans. In the first six months of this year, growth in life insurance policy sales reached its highest level since 1983.

Tingle suggests that if you have suffered from persistent symptoms of Covid-19 and want to purchase life insurance, you should speak to several companies to find out how they assess your insurability. A previous diagnosis of Covid-19 shouldn’t deter you from seeking coverage, he says.

“I would say that the vast majority of the time when people apply for life insurance they are pleasantly surprised rather than negatively surprised by the price and the risk assessment,” Tingle says. “My advice would be this: If you need life insurance or think you don’t have enough, go out and take some, because there are things going on.”

Van Zyl suggests getting a formal diagnosis of long Covid before submitting a life insurance claim. That way, an “informed consumer” can make “informed decisions,” he says.

“Arm yourself. Make sure the diagnosis is confirmed. Make sure you are treated properly, ”explains van Zyl, stressing that a diagnosis of long Covid“ doesn’t mean it’s going to prevent you from getting coverage ”.

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