How suffering from a heavy case of Covid could keep you from getting life insurance – even if you apply for it decades from now
- Those with lasting Covid impacts could be forced to pay more in insurance
- Experts warn some insurers could lock out those suffering from long effects of Covid
- Australians with existing life insurance policies are unlikely to be affected
Australians who suffer the long-term effects of Covid could be kicked out of life insurance policies or forced to pay more premiums, experts have warned.
Jane Tiller of Monash University’s Public Health Genomics Program said coronavirus victims who suffer “long Covid” may be considered by insurers to have a pre-existing condition.
It could mean Covid victims will have to pay hefty premiums to insurance companies decades after they were first infected with the virus.
Australians who suffer from the long-term effects of Covid could be prevented from taking out life insurance or forced to pay more, experts say
Ms Tiller said insurers can also consider which variant a person has been infected with when deciding whether to offer them a policy.
“If it becomes possible to find out what variants you had, then it’s possible they could try to tell them apart,” she told the ABC.
“As long as there is evidence to support a differential risk, an insurer can use it to discriminate against someone who had that risk factor.”
Ms Tiller said she feared there was a ‘gap’ between those who caught the virus and suffered lasting health effects that were beyond their control.
Some effects of long Covid include fatigue, difficulty remembering things, and the inability to taste or smell.
However, director of life insurance policy at Financial Services Australia, Nick Kirwan, said there was no suggestion Covid victims would struggle to get life insurance.
As some insurers will not cover specific pre-existing health conditions, Australians with lasting impacts from Covid may not be covered by insurance companies in the future (file image)
He said insurers could screen Covid victims with lasting impacts and treat them in the same way as Australians with diabetes or heart disease.
“We would expect this to be treated the same as if they had long-lasting and ongoing symptoms,” Mr Kirwin told the publication.
It is understood that Covid infections would have no impact on those with existing life insurance policies.