Americans who recovered from COVID-19 denied insurance: report

    Even having symptoms can get a policy denied

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    Survivors of COVID-19 are being denied life insurance.

    Despite those who are recovering from the virus having medical complications like heart, kidney, and lung damage, life insurance companies, unable to determine risk factors, are denying or limiting survivors.

    A report from Bloomberg shows that life insurance companies are afraid of clients who have or had the virus. According to Bob Hunter, director of insurance at the Consumer Federation of America and a former Texas insurance commissioner, the response to COVID-19 from life insurance agencies was expected.

    “This is classic insurance reaction. They did it after AIDS and SARS,” Hunter said.

    READ MORE: US records highest COVID-19 deaths in single day since May

    In the case of Washington-based Symetra Life Insurance, one of the nation’s top life insurance agencies, the company told Bloomberg that its “policies are approved, denied or postponed based on multiple factors, including medical history.”

    Symetra did not exactly say it would deny or underwrite applicants based on their COVID-19 diagnosis. However, one applicant, Lisa Moyles, 57, of Stratford, Conn, tried to apply and received the following response: “Our decision was due to your medical history, including your recent diagnosis of COVID-19.”

    Moyles tested positive on April’s Fool Day after returning home from a trip to Aruba, two weeks later she was turned down by Symetra. She said besides experiencing some nerve pain on the bottom of her feet, her recovery, which did not require hospitalization, is complete.

    Moyles’ wife, Lise Beaudry, who also went on the trip, test posted for COVID-19. She was denied a policy from Symetra for the same ambiguous reason – “medical history.”

    Moyles and Beaudry started their life insurance process with Symetra before the pandemic hit, and both were not asked about COVID-19 diagnosis, Bloomberg reports. They were seeking to upgrade their current policy to a Symetra policy that included a payout worth $250,000 that would have covered death and coverage for long-term care.

    “They had our applications for months and as soon as we get our results, we’re denied,” Moyles said.

    READ MORE: Nurse, 70, who came out of retirement to teach during pandemic dies from COVID-19

    “If you guess that people have a higher mortality and they don’t, that means you are denying people access to coverage and passing up business that could be profitable,” law professor Daniel Schwarcz at the University of Minnesota, who specializes on insurance, told Bloomberg.

    Other insurers, like Banner Life Insurance, is asking applicants if have they experienced COVID-19 symptoms, and whether or not they have sought treatment or got diagnosed within the last 30 days of applying.

    Insurance Compact, an insurer advocacy network, has condemned insurers from questioning symptoms.

    “There are already questions baked into the application that ask, ‘Have you been in the hospital in the last five years?’ ‘Have you seen a doctor?’” Karen Schutter, Insurance Compact’s executive director told Bloomberg. “There are already general questions that would elicit Covid information.”

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