Understanding Your Health Insurance: A How-To Guide

Health insurance for cancer patients can be one of the most significant factors that determines a person’s prognosis. It is an unfortunate reality that cancer is costly; even with a good insurance plan, cancer patients can face steep co-pays, treatment costs, and medication prices. However, health insurance can defray exorbitant out-of-pocket expenses to a degree. Research has shown that financial concerns can discourage some patients from seeking proper care, or cause them to be non-adherent to their medication regimen, putting their health and recovery at risk. While it’s a necessary part of care, understanding health insurance can seem like yet another challenge for cancer patients who already have so many other decisions and details to sort through. To ease that burden, here is a rundown of the steps cancer patients should take to ensure they’re making the most of insurance. Get insured: If you don’t have health insurance, the very first action you need to take after a diagnosis is to enroll in a plan. Visit the federal healthcare site to learn about the private and public plans that are available. If your or your spouse’s employer offers insurance, a cancer diagnosis typically will be considered a qualifying life event, so you can enroll in a plan outside of typical enrollment periods. Other options include Medicare, generally applicable to those over 65, and Medicaid, for low-income or disabled individuals. Stay insured: Cancer treatments may necessitate your taking time off of work or could even result in the loss of a job. Prepare ahead of time. The COBRA program provides temporary insurance coverage, often used by those whose employers discontinue coverage during a leave. Get informed: Learn about your...

Life Insurance Death Benefits: Pros & Cons

Claiming life insurance death benefits can be a lifesaving option for a person’s family after he or she passes away and can even be beneficial for the policyholder while he or she is still alive. When selecting a life insurance policy, it is important to consider the pros and cons of each option, especially the policy’s death benefit. Death Benefit Pros Death benefits are generally designed to help a policy holder’s beneficiaries pay for his or her final arrangements, to settle debts and, in some cases, to help them save and build wealth. Some policies also include the option of claiming life insurance death benefits through loans while the individual is still alive. That can be an effective way of paying down debts and confronting financial emergencies, such as cancer or other critical medical conditions. Death Benefit Cons Death benefits vary greatly depending on the individual’s policy. For instance, term policyholders generally cannot draw on their benefits while they’re still alive. Those who want that option would need to invest in a whole or permanent life insurance policy, which is generally more expensive as it lasts throughout the duration of an individual’s life. That means higher premiums each month, which can be challenging for many, especially those who are just starting out. Another Option Those considering the best options for claiming life insurance death benefits can also explore avenues like Life Credit’s Living Benefit Loans. This program allows policyholders—regardless of whether they have term or whole life insurance—to borrow against their policy’s death benefit to address immediate financial concerns. Individuals can receive up to half of their death benefit,...

Can Life Insurance Cash Value Help Cancer Patients?

Are you considering whether your life insurance cash value can help you confront a medical crisis like cancer? You’re certainly not alone. Many cancer patients are facing significant financial burdens, and life insurance can be one way to overcome some of those obstacles. First, it’s important to understand the basics of how life insurance builds cash value. Understanding Your Life Insurance Policy’s Cash Value One of the major differences between whole and term life insurance policies centers on cash value. Term policies are applicable for a set number of years and do not accumulate cash value. Once the term has ended, the policyholder does not have any coverage and cannot draw on any of the premiums he or she paid throughout its duration. Whole life insurance, on the other hand, is active throughout an individual’s life and builds cash value over the years. So how does life insurance accumulate cash value? A policy’s value grows as the individual pays the agreed-upon premiums. A portion of the premiums goes to the person’s death benefit, which will be paid out to survivors after he or she passes away, and a portion is set aside as the policy’s cash value. How Can Life Insurance Help Me as a Cancer Patient? If a person chooses a payout or to sell a life insurance policy, he or she will only get the life insurance cash surrender value. Often, the surrender value is lower than the actual cash value of a policy, so the holder will not truly be getting back what he or she put into it. Sometimes, cancer patients may settle for this...

Which is Better: Term Life or Whole Life Insurance?

If you’re considering investing in life insurance, one of your first decisions is likely term insurance vs. whole life insurance. The type of insurance you choose will dictate the level of protection you get, and for how long, so it’s important to understand which policy fits best for your individual situation. What is the Difference Between Term and Whole Life Insurance?   There are a few key differences between term and whole life insurance, including: Length of coverage: Term policies only offer death-benefit coverage for the policyholder for a set number of years, while whole life, instead, extends through the person’s death. Whole life insurance typically provides both a death benefit and a cash savings, where term does not accumulate cash value. Premiums: Because whole life has a longer coverage period, monthly premiums may be higher than those associated with term policies. Living death benefit: Many policies only allow clients to add a rider such as a living death benefit—which enables the person to draw cash from the policy in the event of a terminal illness—to a whole life policy. Life Credit’s Living Benefit Loans, however, allow policyholders to borrow against the death benefit of both term and whole life policies. Term Insurance vs. Whole Life Insurance   So which type of policy is better? It largely depends on a person’s unique situation. Term insurance is often a good fit for younger individuals, who want to protect their families in the event of an unexpected loss, all at a price that doesn’t break the bank. However, when the term finishes, the policyholder will lose protection, which can be a...

Why Would People Avoid Life Insurance Loans and Credit Programs?

Like with any loan program, borrowing against life insurance can sometimes make people wary, as they worry about taking on more debt. While mounting debt is certainly an issue that can impact some people negatively, loans themselves don’t have to necessarily be risky—and can actually be productive. Particularly when it comes to one’s own investments, such as lending against life insurance policy, being able to draw value on that product to combat other debts is a sensible and practical approach.   If you’re weighing whether to borrow against life insurance, you first need to have life insurance explained in a way that makes sense for your particular situation. Many people anticipate only using the death benefit of their life insurance policy after their death, to help pay for final arrangements and take care of their loved ones. However, if a financial crisis arises, such as a cancer diagnosis, life insurance can be a logical source of income: Policyholders may have paid into the plan for decades and, by drawing on its value, they can address pressing, and often quickly escalating, financial needs to improve their quality of life and possibly even their prognosis.   So what happens when you borrow from life insurance? There are pros and cons of life insurance loans, depending on the program. Like most loans, life insurance loans typically involve interest, so policy holders will have to pay back the debt, along with the added interest, to regain control of the policy.   However, the benefits that life insurance loans—both immediate and long-lasting—bring can far outweigh whatever interest the policy holder incurs. Having the ability...

What is a Death Benefit Rider?

Life insurance is traditionally understood as helping people plan and prepare for the end of their lives. Many policyholders aim to use the amount of their plan to help beneficiaries pay for things like funeral costs, to settle final arrangements or to help reduce debt once they have passed. However, after the lifelong investment that many sink into a plan, they should be able to use the value whenever they need it and, that’s where a death benefit rider may come in. How Does a Death Benefit Rider Work? A rider functions like an add-on to an insurance plan, allowing the policyholder to opt for certain protections that are customized to his or her particular situation. There are different forms a death benefit rider can take, but many center on giving the individual access to the cash value of his or her insurance plan while he or she is still alive. For instance, an accelerated death benefit generally enables policyholders who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness to draw cash advances against the value of the death benefit. Another option is the enhanced death benefit, which pays out the highest investment gain the policy attained, even if the market value is less. Those with a variable annuity death benefit may be able to attach riders to enable cash advances and a payout that is higher than the minimum. Pros and Cons of Death Benefit Riders Death benefit riders can help policyholders customize a plan that makes sense for them; however, there are some factors to consider. Riders do increase the cost of a plan, which could be a...