Published 06 Jun 2018
People who are diagnosed with HIV have a far better prognosis now than when the disease first emerged in the early 1980s. Modern antiretroviral treatments mean the condition is largely manageable and can be prevented from ever progressing to AIDS.
But how do life insurance firms and superannuation providers treat these diseases? Are they considered critical illnesses, enabling sufferers to claim lump sum payments after a diagnosis? We're here to help you learn more.
Critical illness cover in Australia
Also known as trauma insurance, critical illness cover provides financial support to people who experience a life-changing medical problem. Heart attacks, strokes, cancers, kidney failure and Parkinson's disease are just some of the many illnesses that these policies regularly include.
However, many HIV and AIDS sufferers may find they are not covered under this type of insurance unless they were accidentally infected or acquired the condition through their job. For example, a patient could contract HIV through a blood transfusion, or a nurse could be pricked by an infected needle.
These incidents appear to be extremely rare in the country, research from the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) suggests. The AFAO states 97 per cent of HIV cases can be attributed to sexual contact or drug use, with just 3 per cent due to other or unspecified causes.
Nevertheless, every critical illness policy is different and you should always check the specific terms and conditions of your cover to see what exclusions exist.
Making a critical illness claim for AIDS or HIV
Attitudes towards HIV and AIDS in Australia have changed significantly in recent years, but those who have the diseases still feel stigmatised. Four out of ten people with HIV admitted they have been hurt by how others reacted to finding out about their diagnosis, according to a 2017 AFAO survey. Over three-quarters said telling someone else about their condition was risky.
In addition to stigma, those with HIV or AIDS could also face financial burdens if they are unable to work because of their conditions. However, only time will tell whether or not insurers start offering more critical illness products that provide support to people with HIV or AIDS.
But if you believe you are owed benefits through your life insurance policy or superannuation fund, you shouldn't hesitate to contact an experienced lawyer to assess your case.
Sometimes, an approved claim can make all the difference when you're suffering from a serious illness or injury. So please get in touch with Gerard Malouf & Partners Superannuation Lawyers today to learn more about our no-win, no-fee service.