Prevalence, current therapies and prevention are the key themes for insurers that are reviewing their approach to applications with a history of viral hepatitis.
Although the hepatitis B vaccine (HBV) has been administered routinely at birth in the United States since 1991, the infection remains a global health hazard. Hepatitis B is frequently asymptomatic, so many acutely and chronically infected patients may be unaware of their condition. This article updates readers on advances in the understanding, treatment, and prognoses for this condition, as well as the underwriting and claims implications for life and health insurers.
Around 36 million people are living with HIV in the world today (LVWH). 5 million of them are also infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) and 4 million with hepatitis B virus (HBV). In both cases, HIV and the immunodeficiency it causes, accelerate the progression of hepatitis B or C, inducing increased morbidity and mortality for all three infections.
Underwriting Hepatitis B can be challenging. Hepatitis B is acquired and spread in a variety of ways. As underwriters, we may never know how an individual was exposed to the virus. Hepatitis B is acquired as a result of exposure to blood or blood products.