Canadian Companies Now Insuring (And Competing For) HIV Patients

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Insurer Sun Life announced Monday it will begin offering life insurance to HIV-positive individuals, another milestone in a major turnaround for the industry.

The Toronto-based company said it would start offering coverage of up to $3 million for people living with HIV, and will start doing the same in its divisions outside Canada.

An estimated 75,500 people were living with HIV in Canada as of the end of 2014.

sun life toronto
The Sun Life Financial building is seen in Toronto May 6, 2015. (Photo: Reuters/Fred Thornhill)

Less than a year ago, there were no major insurers in Canada offering life plans for the HIV-positive. But that changed with Manulife’s announcement this spring that it would become the country’s first insurer to do so.

Sun Life made it clear it intends to compete for this new market.

The new plans for HIV patients offer “the most coverage for the broadest range of ages in the Canadian industry,” the company boasted in a press release.

manulife financial building
A Manulife sign on a building in Toronto. (Photo: Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Sun Life also announced it’s significantly streamlining its life insurance applications.

Medical procedures like blood tests and urinalysis will no longer be “routinely” required for life insurance, though there are some exceptions: Older Canadians who want to expand their coverage may need to take some tests.

The life insurance industry’s attitude towards HIV is changing.

A revolution in drug treatments in recent years has changed an HIV-positive diagnosis from one of a quick death sentence to a chronic disease that can be managed with proper medication.

A report last year by the Canadian Observational Cohort Collaboration said the overall life expectancy of Canadians undergoing antiretroviral treatment for the AIDS-causing virus had climbed to 65 years.

— With earlier reporting from The Canadian Press

Earlier on HuffPost:

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