Patients facing terminal illness may be able to tap into their life insurance policies to help them pay for treatment and other costs needed to stay alive. Many life insurance policies offer this “accelerated death benefit” to policyholders who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and have less than one year to live. By having access to a portion of the death benefit while they are still alive, policyholders can make use of cash advances. Available for term insurance policies and permanent life insurance policies, any money received early is subtracted from the death benefit that the policyholder’s heirs will receive when he or she dies. Details vary by insurance company, type of policy, and state.
NOTE: Sometimes referred to as a “living benefit option,” an accelerated death benefit can help pay for hospice care and other treatments.