Posted on 26 Jul 2011
The Hartford has been awarded a patent for a life insurance system that advances a policy's death benefit to provide income to consumers who become chronically ill. In an industry first, consumers can use the income they receive from The Hartford's patented LifeAccess Accelerated Benefit Rider® system for any purpose at all, including paying family members to care for them at home.
The Hartford's chief medical strategist, Dr. Robert Pokorski, said, "Covering the cost of becoming chronically ill is the leading cause of bankruptcy for older Americans1. That's why we are so excited to be awarded a patent for a system that can provide income to consumers when they need it most."
According to Dr. Pokorski, the LifeAccess Rider provides up to $109,500 a year to policyholders who have been certified by a physician as needing care for a chronic illness, including those who have suffered a stroke or been diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
Unlike conventional long-term care options, life insurance policies with the LifeAccess Rider do not require policyholders to receive pre-approval for medical treatment, submit receipts, or limit how, when, where or from whom they receive the care they want. And, while the income can be used for medical expenses, it can also be used to pay everyday expenses, including yard work, travel, mortgage payments, or the cost of making a home more accessible.
According to the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services2, most chronically ill Americans are cared for at home by a loved one, often at the caregiver's expense. Dr. Pokorski said those expenses can be onerous and cited a recent study which found that the average boomer who cares for an aging parent forfeits more than $250,000 in lost wages, pension, and Social Security income.3
The LifeAccess Rider has already become one of The Hartford's most successful products and is currently sold on more than one-quarter of its life insurance policies. "It is especially popular with women in their fifties who are concerned they will outlive their spouse or want to protect themselves from the financial impact of becoming ill later in life," Dr. Pokorski said.
Receiving rider benefits will reduce the life insurance death benefit available to the policy's beneficiaries. The rider may not cover all of the costs associated with the chronic illness of the insured. Though the rider benefits are generally tax-free, in some circumstances, they may be taxable.
Consumers can learn more about The Hartford's life insurance policies with the LifeAccess Accelerated Benefit Rider by calling 1-877-439-0772 or at www.hartfordinvestor.com/livingbenefits.