Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus. Today, most people become infected with the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs. But, according to the Centers for Disease Control, baby boomers seem to be at higher risk – your clients could be infected and not even know it!
The CDC explains people born from 1945-1965 are five times more likely to have HCV than other adults. The reason is not completely understood. “Baby boomers could have gotten infected from medical equipment or procedures before universal precautions and infection control procedures were adopted. Others could have gotten infected from contaminated blood and blood products before widespread screening virtually eliminated the virus from the blood supply by 1992,” the CDC says. 1
The Hepatitis C virus is a common, infectious virus that targets the liver; still this illness can appear in many other body systems and organs. Studies have found that between 70 and 74 percent of those with Hepatitis C experience extrahepatic (outside the liver) manifestations which could affect the brain, eyes, thyroid, joints and muscles, digestion, glucose control and the hands and feet.2
For some people, hepatitis C is a short-term illness, but for 70-85 percent of people who have HCV, it becomes a long-term, chronic infection.3 Chronic HCV is a serious disease than can result in long-term health problems, even death. Unfortunately, the majority of infected persons may not even be aware that they are infected as they do not feel ill nor do they experience chronic symptoms.
There is no vaccine for Hepatitis C. The best way to prevent it is to avoid behaviors that can spread the disease, especially injecting drugs.
Harvoni (ledipasvir/sofosbuvir) is currently one of the most advertised prescription treatments for HCV and has shown tremendous results. In clinical studies, most patients with HCV genotype 1 who had no prior treatment were cured with just 12 weeks of therapy. Most infected patients are experiencing little side effects and are able to tolerate the medication.
Unfortunately, the cure rates are not as high for people with cirrhosis who were previously treated unsuccessfully with interferon-based hep C regimens, people with decompensated cirrhosis and those with genotype 3 of hep C.
The typical treatment window is 8-12 weeks, with many patients clearing the virus (negative HCV RNA) as early as eight weeks. Once the HCV RNA has been negative for greater than six months after treatment, a person is considered to have sustained viral response (SVR) and is essentially cured.
Underwriters will consider multiple factors and test results when assessing the risk for an applicant with a history of HCV.
Aside from factors such as date and age of onset, symptoms, and prior treatments, they will also review serology, imaging (US/MRI/CT), biopsy results and scans. Today, there are more sophisticated blood tests (FibroSURE) and scans (FibroScan), which will measure liver damage (fibrosis and cirrhosis); these advances have significantly reduced the need for invasive, costly and riskier needle biopsies.
Applicants who have successfully cleared the virus (sustained neg HCV RNA more than six months) with no liver damage may be approved at preferred rate classes! (Depending on the carrier)
Applicants unable to clear the virus are considered chronic hepatitis C applicants and will be rated and possibly declined, depending on the individual’s overall factors and test results.
At Ash Brokerage, you have a dedicated staff of seasoned underwriters available to answer your questions regarding your clients with Hepatitis C. We’d welcome the opportunity to talk with you about your client’s specific needs. Also, be sure to check out our helpful questionnaire to use with your clients.
Ash Brokerage Hepatitis Questionnaire: http://go.ashbrokerage.com/WC2017-07-UW-Hepatitis_LP-Content.html?utm_source=blog&utm_medium=landing_page&utm_campaign=uw_questionnaire
1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Know More Hepatitis”: https://www.cdc.gov/knowmorehepatitis/media/pdfs/factsheet-boomers.pdf
2HCV Advocate, “HCSP Fact Sheet, Extrahepatic Manifestation of HCV” July 2015: http://hcvadvocate.org/hepatitis/factsheets_pdf/extrahepatic.pdf
3CDC, Viral Hepatitis, Hepatitis C: https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hcv/index.htm
4Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Testing Recommendations for Hepatitis C Virus Infection”: https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hcv/guidelinesc.htm
For more than 35 years, Charlie Kuhn has taken a personal interest in every case. To her, it’s more than a file – it’s a person trying to protect the people they care about, or a business trying to protect its future and the future of their employees. Charlie can think of no better vocation than to help provide financial and emotional security for others. Through her personal commitment to continuous professional growth, Charlie is one test away from becoming an Associate of the Life Management Institute. She is already an Associate of Customer Service with LOMA, has passed all three of the Academy of Life Underwriting exams, and is certified in EKG interpretation.
People in our industry like to make things complicated. But, what we do isn’t complicated. It’s mostly just math. Plain and simple.
For our July webinar, I posed a simple question:
Is there a better way to own a non-qualified investment?
The simple answer: Yes! In many cases, cash value life insurance is a more tax-efficient solution. If you missed the webinar, you can watch the replay to see the breakdown of the numbers. But, it was easy to see that tax treatment of cash value life insurance – thanks to IRC 7702 – makes it a more efficient savings tool than many non-qualified investments.
For our purposes, we used the S&P 500, but you can compare the efficiency of life insurance with ANY non-qualified instrument. With funds that have high turnover rates or high interest income, the comparison is even more compelling – cash value life insurance, when properly structured, is usually the more tax efficient savings tool.
The proof is in the pudding. Still don’t believe me? Go ask your tax advisor.
This is the reality for most of your high income clients who have maxed out their qualified investments. I’m not this insurance zealot that says everyone should own cash value life insurance. This savings strategy is for those with higher incomes who are looking to accumulate funds more tax efficiently. And, it’s efficient for your business, too – because your clients’ taxes will come out of your assets under management.
Finally, wouldn’t you rather own an instrument that gives you something in return? Other instruments aren’t going to give you a death benefit – they’re going to give you a 1099. Think about that.
You see, tax efficiency isn’t complicated. It’s just math. Want to know more? Watch the replay or reach out directly – I’d be happy talk about how we can help you tell this story with your clients.
Tim Ash is known as a visionary in the financial services community. He is an industry leader who envisions a future where insurance is easy, affordable and an essential part of a sound financial plan. As CEO of Ash Brokerage, Tim has fostered an environment of success with team-focused empowerment and client-centered service. He has built a culture where people not only believe in what they do, but more importantly, they understand the reason behind their efforts.
© 2018 Ash Brokerage LLC.