State Insurance Commissioner Kathleen A. Birrane is reassuring Marylanders that life insurers are not refusing, and cannot refuse, to pay benefits under a life insurance policy because the insured received a COVID-19 vaccination. The Commissioner’s assurances were prompted by inquiries following social media posts falsely suggesting that receiving a COVID-19 vaccination could be a factor considered by a life insurer in deciding whether to pay a claim under a life insurance policy.
“There is no truth to rumors circulating on certain social media sites that being vaccinated against COVID-19 could be a basis for a life insurer to deny benefits under a life insurance policy,” the Commissioner stated. “As a matter of practicality, life insurers have confirmed through their trade associations that they do not consider whether a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19 when evaluating a life policy claim and we have not seen any evidence of any insurer taking this position.”
The Commissioner also emphasized that, with respect to a policy issued in Maryland, the Maryland Insurance Administration would not allow a life insurance claim to be denied on that basis. The terms of a life insurance policy specifically set forth the reasons that the insurance company may use to deny payment of a claim. Those reasons do not include taking a COVID-19 vaccination.
“The fact is that life insurers do not consider whether or not a policyholder has received a COVID vaccine when deciding whether to pay a claim,” said Paul Graham, Senior Vice President, Policy Development, at the American Council of Life Insurers. (ACLI). “Life insurance policy contracts are very clear on how policies work, and what cause, if any, might lead to the denial of a benefit. A vaccine for COVID-19 is not one of them. Policyholders should rest assured that nothing has changed in the claims-paying process as a result of COVID-19 vaccinations.”
Matthew Celentano, Executive Director of the League of Life and Health Insurers of Maryland, agreed: “Maryland’s life insurers cannot stress strongly enough that vaccination is one of the best and most effective ways to protect you, your family, and neighbors from severe illness or death from COVID-19,” he said. “Getting vaccinated will only positively impact your health, will have zero impact on your individual or workplace life insurance benefits, or your ability in the future to apply for coverage. No Marylander should be concerned about receiving a vaccination because they are worried it might impact their insurance benefits. It will not.”
If you feel that an insurance claim has been unfairly denied, contact the Maryland Insurance Administration at 1-800-492-6116 or use our online complaint portal: https://enterprise.insurance.maryland.gov/consumer/ConsumerPortalWelcomePage.aspx
If you have any questions about life insurance or about COVID-19-related insurance issues, contact your insurance company, your insurance professional or the Maryland Insurance Administration. Please visit insurance.maryland.gov and our COVID-19 Resource Center.