Financial Help for Cancer Patients is Here

Learn about financial help for cancer patients, life insurance loans, borrowing against your life insurance death benefit, viatical settlements, and many other topics. Life Credit Company thrives on being your resource when it comes to financial help for cancer patients.

How are Viatical Settlements Taxed?

If you’re considering the regulations regarding taxes on life insurance settlements, you’re not alone: The issue is a complex one, with a number of nuances depending on your individual circumstances. Tax on Life Insurance Settlement First, it’s important to understand the basics of a life insurance settlement, typically known as a viatical settlement. Policyholders who have a permanent life insurance policy and are facing a terminal illness may be eligible to sell their policy in order to access cash for end-of-life preparations. The settlements are typically less than the policy’s cash value, but give the policyholders immediate access to the funds, which can be a vital benefit for those grappling with the serious financial obstacles associated with a critical illness. In general, the proceeds from these types of settlements are not taxed like regular income. However, there are some exceptions. What Do the Laws Say? In 1995, the federal government undertook a major overhaul of the laws regarding taxes on life insurance settlements in a broad legislative package known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA). This law mandated that proceeds from a viatical settlement, as well as accelerated death benefits — another way some individuals may try to take advantage of the value of their policy before their death — are tax-free. However, in order to qualify for that exemption, the policyholder must have a terminal illness and have a life expectancy of less than two years. Additionally, the company purchasing the policy from the individual must be licensed and have experience with prior viatical settlements. If all of those conditions are met, the policyholder can... read more

CALM Therapy: Treating Depression in Cancer Patients

Depression is a common mental health condition affecting millions of Americans — and those who are facing serious health challenges, such as cancer, are at an increased risk of developing depression and related mental-health struggles. Thankfully, there is cancer mental health support available, including popular group therapy sessions, where patients can find vital support from others who are facing similar physical and mental obstacles. A new type of psychotherapy for cancer patients is also proving highly successful. Known as CALM therapy, the technique was recently studied by a team of researchers, who published their findings in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. In their clinical trial, the team found that three to six sessions of CALM therapy — which stands for Managing Cancer and Living Meaningfully — were able to lessen symptoms of depression in those with an advanced form of the disease. The results also suggest that the therapy approach can also stem the development of depression in those with advanced cancer. What is CALM therapy? This approach to psychotherapy for cancer patients involves three to six sessions, lasting between 45 and 60 minutes, over a three- to six-month period. The trial participants who attended the CALM therapy sessions reported less severe symptoms of depression than those who did not participate, and the symptoms continued to decline the longer the patients were attending the sessions. The sessions focus on issues including symptom management, communication with care providers, life changes, spiritual wellbeing and fears about the future. Patients are allowed to bring a caregiver to one or more of the sessions if they would like, and sessions can be led... read more

Cancer Research: Killing Dormant Tumor Cells

It’s an unfortunate reality that, many times, even when oncology teams are able to target and kill active cancer cells, the patient may not be out of the woods — as cancer cells frequently spread, or metastasize. These cells may lie dormant for years, hiding within the bones, lymph nodes or other areas of the body — making effective treatment an ongoing challenge. However, a new research study has highlighted one approach that showed promising results for rooting out and killing cancer cells that are hiding in the body. How Does Cancer Spread? First, it’s important to understand, how does cancer spread or metastasize? Infected cancer cells can break away from the primary tumor and become insulated within healthy cells. These normal cells surrounding the tumor, known as the tumor microenvironment, can provide unfortunate protection for the surviving cancer cells. In their experiments with mice, the researchers found that these escaped cells were often clustered around blood vessels in an area called the perivascular niche. In particular, the vessels’ endothelial cells were guarding the cancer cells, making them resistant to treatments like chemotherapy. The researchers also found molecules called integrins that were interacting with the endothelial cells. Integrins are a natural part of healing and are designed to protect cells — but that tendency may be helping infected cells continue to thrive and spread. What’s Next for Cancer Researchers? Using this data, researchers developed two antibodies designed to target the integrins. In mice that were administered only chemo, 75% experienced metastasis; however, those who were also treated with the anti-integrin antibodies had much more success, with only 22% of... read more

What is Sarcoma Cancer? 5 Things You Need to Know

Sarcoma is called the “forgotten cancer,” as it’s a form of the disease that is much more rare than others, and because of that, it often doesn’t get the attention it should. However, although it’s less common, sarcoma can still pose a serious risk to someone’s health, so it’s important to be educated about the condition. July is a perfect time to do that, as it’s Sarcoma Awareness Month. What is Sarcoma Cancer? Before you can dive in and do your part to encourage sarcoma awareness, it’s helpful to first understand what the condition actually is. Sarcoma is a type of cancer that can be found anywhere in the body and typically is defined as either soft tissue or bone, with dozens of different categories of each. Sarcomas are often difficult to detect and diagnose, though they unfortunately claim more than 6,500 American lives every year, with more than 15,000 new diagnoses each year in the United States, according to the National Foundation for Cancer Research. How Can I Promote Sarcoma Awareness? Keeping those statistics in mind, spreading sarcoma awareness can be a vital tool in helping to save lives. Here are five important things you need to know — and that you should tell others in your life! — about sarcoma cancer: Most sarcomas have no known cause: Unlike other forms of cancer, there are no known risk factors for sarcoma. However, certain genetic conditions such as Gardner syndrome or lymph-system damage can enhance the risk, and exposure to radiation, certain herbicides and other chemicals are also thought to play a role. Sarcomas are rare among adults, but... read more

The Viatical Settlement Checklist

Life insurance is often considered as a means to help loved ones pay for your final expenses; however, situations may arise that would make having access to those funds prior to your passing the smartest financial option. Life Credit’s Living Benefit Loan Program allows you to borrow against your life insurance policy’s death benefit in order to cover cancer care and other pressing financial obligations. Another option is  a settlement called a viatical, life insurance can be sold to another party. There are pros and cons to viatical settlements, which each person needs to carefully consider before choosing the path that’s right for them. What happens under a viatical settlement? This is an option that can only be considered when someone is diagnosed with a terminal illness, typically with a life expectancy of less than two years. In this case, the person may want to access the funds to take care of end-of-life planning, such as home care or hospice. Consulting with your medical team to have them assess and document your prognosis should be one of the first steps anyone should take who is considering a viatical settlement. Other factors to consider are the length of your policy — viatical life insurance settlements usually only apply to policies older than two years — and whether the policy was issued by a licensed and insured provider. The value of the policy is also a major consideration, and one that involves its age, the cost of the premiums and the unique health circumstances of the policyholder. What happens under a viatical settlement is that the buyer will often agree to... read more

5 Riders to Consider in Your Life Insurance Policy

Life insurance policy riders can be vital tools for protecting yourself and your loved ones, adding extra value to your policy. There are many different types of riders, and all are designed to meet specific needs, allowing you to custom-build a policy to your unique circumstances. Many riders are incorporated into an insurance policy upon initial purchase, but some life insurance companies may allow you to add on riders throughout the duration of your policy. As always, consult with an insurance professional to determine which rider may be best for you. Here are five of the most common life insurance policy riders you may want to consider to ensure you’re getting the most out of your policy: 1. Long-Term Care Rider: Life insurance with a long-term care rider enables you to draw upon your policy’s death benefit long before you pass away. You can use the funds for assistance with care, such as paying for a home-care nurse or for living expenses at a nursing home or assisted care facility. Typically, eligibility requirements mandate that policyholders be unable to perform a number of daily tasks by themselves, such as dressing or eating. This type of rider can be an effective way for policyholders to avoid having to drain savings or retirement plans and also ensure they can benefit from their policy while still alive. 2. Living Benefits Rider: This type is another of the life insurance policy riders that allows you to access your death benefit before you pass. In order to qualify, you usually have to have a chronic or terminal illness; if approved, you can use the... read more