Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Cancer Treatment: Balancing Quality Care with Costs

Viatical Settlements are a way to get financial help for cancer patients
We live in a time where we can access top-notch healthcare, with the best treatments, that help us overcome the challenges of what ails us. However, with that care comes a high cost which makes it very difficult for most to afford the care we deserve and desperately need. This type of situation is all too familiar to cancer patients and many are running out of options to fund these growing costs. When cancer patients have access to quality care that can extend their survival and lessen their pain, who wouldn’t take that option? The unfortunate answer is simple: Those who cannot afford such care. However, there are options and helpfor cancer patients to be able to afford such great care.

According to a recent report published by the American Association of Cancer Research, Americans have an increased chance of survival as well as better quality of life after a cancer diagnosis than ever before due to advancing medical science. While this bears good news, if people are living longer with a life-threatening illness, they will likely need as much financial assistance as possible to cover their expenses. In order to manage these expenses, cancer patients can opt for viatical settlements to live life more comfortably.

No longer would you have to put your quality of life at risk or place financial burdens on your family members to cover the costs of care. A viatical settlement can be your option that keeps a roof over your head and gives you peace-of-mind at the same time. While your current health insurance may only cover nominal portions of your expensive cancer treatments, you are left to foot the rest of the bill. This can cause major stress and frustration. Choosing to take advantage of a viatical settlement can take care of those extra costs. Those funds can even be used to cover things like your mortgage, utility bills and other daily living expenses.

A viatical settlement serves the purpose of turning an existing life insurance policy into cash you can use now. To qualify, a person must have a life-limiting illness diagnosis like cancer and an existing life insurance policy. The policy can turn into cash now, as the seller receives a lump sum payment which is a percentage of the face value of the policy. In order for you to get the financial assistance you need, look into viatical settlements because you deserve the best care, no matter the cost!

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Lee Berman Talks Viatical Settlements with Julie Moran on The Balancing Act®

Lee Berman talks about Viatical Settlements on The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television
Lee Berman on The Balancing Act® airing on Lifetime Television®
explains what viatical settlements are.
Lee Berman made a guest appearance on The Balancing Act® airing on Lifetime Television® where he sat down with show host Julie Moran to go over some information about viatical settlements. Berman is the Director of Marketing and Vice President of Policy Services at Asset Funding Corporation and he answered some questions about viatical settlements. In case you missed it, check out this recap:

Why are so many people in the population not prepared and/or not equipped to handle the financial burdens that accompany life threatening illnesses?
I think that there are two reasons for that, number one is that no one can really be prepared and can expect to be diagnosed with something like cancer, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, so there’s no way to prepare for that financially. The second thing is I think people just don’t realize when you have this type of diagnosis and you’re going through treatment, financially, you’re not going to be in the same place as you were before. For many people they have to miss significant time from work, the income doesn’t come in anymore, but they still are required to make their house payment, their car payment, put food on the table.

What are viatical settlements?
A viatical settlement is basically the sale of an existing life insurance policy from the policy owner to a third party for cash. Every case payout is less than the death benefit but more than the cash surrendered value of the policy.

What is Asset Funding Corp. doing to make viatical settlements a viable option for those with life insurance policies who are dealing with life threatening illnesses?
For over ten years, we have been working with people who’ve been either diagnosed with this type of illness, or their family members, caregivers, or their financial advisers to make a viatical settlement an option for them. And what we do is either directly or through our website, we provide the tools to do an evaluation of the policy, look at things like their premiums, the history, rules of the policies, as well as their medical conditions. By gathering all this information, we can give them options, we can educate them about the options in their policy, they might have options they’re not aware of, and one of those options very well could be that Asset Funding Corporation can make them an offer to actually buy the policy from them and get them that much needed cash.

Do all life insurance policy holders qualify? How does that work?
In order to qualify for a viatical settlement, you do have to be diagnosed with one of these illnesses we’re talking about, like cancer, Lou Gehrig’s, something fatal, heart disease, AIDS. A perfectly healthy person in their 40s or 50s would not qualify.

What should be the primary reasons for considering this type of option?
For most people in this situation, the financial stress that they are going through is the most important thing and what we strive to do is get them the cash they need to relieve that financial stress, put the cash in their pockets to help them pay for, again, all these day to day expenses that they’re dealing with.

Are there common misconceptions regarding this financial tool?
Yes, there are a number of misconceptions in what we do. The first is that most people think that you have to have been given a terminal diagnosis in order to qualify and that’s just not true. You can have a longer life expectancy than less than one or two years to qualify for a viatical settlement. The second is that most people think you need a permanent or whole life insurance policy in order to sell a policy; in fact, the majority of the policies we buy are term policies or group policies, a group policy being one through your job.

As the use of viatical settlements has increased over time, how has the approach evolved?
Well the viatical settlement industry really started in the late 70s and early 80s when the HIV and the AIDS epidemic started in our country. And at the time, people were looking for additional money to pay for treatments that weren’t covered by their health insurance. And selling a life insurance policy became a good option for them but over the years, the industry has expanded into illnesses such as cancer or heart disease and kidney failure.

What advice would you give people who are considering this?

The most important thing is to get educated, not only on your current financial situation and the assets you might have, but also what your options are. What we offer at Asset Funding Corporation is a complete evaluation of the life insurance policy to let them know what all of their options are with the policy, including if they have the option to sell the policy. And at that point, they can make an educated decision and do what’s in their best interest and the best interest of their family.

If you would like to learn more about viatical settlements, please call 800-542-9513 for more information.

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Asset Funding Corp’s Vice President of Policy Services Appearing on The Balancing Act® airing on Lifetime Television® in September

Asset Funding Corp’s very own Lee Berman will be a special guest on Lifetime Television this September! Berman is the Director of Marketing and the Vice President of Policy Services at Asset Funding Corp. He is a seasoned veteran of the viatical and life settlement industry and will be sharing his thoughts to millions of television viewers on The Balancing Act® airing on Lifetime Television®.

Berman is making a guest appearance on this nationally televised show on September 19, re-airing on September 26. The Balancing Act® airing on Lifetime Television® is an hour-long morning show that starts at 7 a.m. (EST) on weekdays. This exciting appearance will broaden the scope of financial opportunities available to people who suffer from life-limiting illnesses. The Balancing Act® show host, Julie Moran, will be sitting alongside Berman discussing the benefits of cashing in life insurance policies in the time of need.

The TV show was originally designed for women, focusing on issues that are entertaining, educational and newsworthy. It serves as the only hour-long morning TV show specifically for women and catering to subjects that matter the most to them. Many of their segments feature trending topics that women encounter on a daily basis and also serve to inform every viewer of things that can improve their day.

Berman will educate viewers on the issues people encounter when dealing with illness like the costs associated with health conditions, the way it affects family members and the financial struggles that come about from everyday expenses. This episode is something you don’t want to miss so make sure you tune in on September 19 and 26!

Want to see a sneak peak of the show? Watch this video for a chance to see the show host, Moran, announce Berman as the special guest! 

Labels: , ,

Monday, August 11, 2014

New Tool for Estimating Cancer Care Costs

Have you ever considered how you’d be able to manage the financial burdens of paying for a serious emergency?  Dealing with a life-limiting condition like kidney and liver failure, heart disease, and other problems can be very costly.  Medical problems in general can be expensive, but in terms of sheer expense, cancer can be one of costliest diseases you can have.

Take a moment to think about some of the basics you have to pay for to treat cancer, including:
  • Doctor’s appointments
  • Lab tests
  • Clinic treatments
  • Procedures
  • Surgery
  • Medicine

The list goes on from there.  A lot of people are unsure of how to bring up finances with their doctors and insurance company, even though it’s something every cancer patient has to deal with.  There is some financial help for cancer patients available, but most will have to look for their own ways to fund their treatment.  Selling your life insurance policy can be an excellent way to offset certain cancer costs.

Making a sound financial decision about your cancer treatment plan may sound difficult, but a recent development may help make it easier.  Oncologists and researchers from the University of Chicago have created a tool to estimate the general expense of a cancer diagnosis and treatment. With the help of over 150 cancer patients, and their own experiences financing their treatment, they developed the Comprehensive Score for Financial Toxicity (COST).

On average, cancer survivors have higher medical expenses, usually as much as $3,000 to $4,000 every year, compared to average medical expenses of other life-limiting conditions.  This is an issue because many cancer patients have decreased income due to an inability to return to work, or the need to reduce hours to continue with treatments.  The study showed that the problems associated with cancer costs aren’t limited to people of a certain income level. People from all walks of life have problems managing medical costs.  Sometimes patients that have higher income levels opt for more expensive treatments and assume that they can afford them. Unfortunately, as costs pile up, they end up finding themselves in debt.

COST is designed to give people a realistic and affordable way to plan for cancer care costs.  As health care prices rise, it will become more difficult to find a way to budget for care.  This tool can help make a lot of difficult financial decisions a little easier to handle.

Labels: , ,

Monday, August 4, 2014

What You Need to Know about Senior Life Settlements

For seniors, life settlements can be an important tool for securing their future or that of their family members. Life settlements involve selling a policy to another party in exchange for immediate cash. This is an attractive option especially when retirement or health insurance funds run low. Here’s what you should know about senior life settlements:

  1. Life settlements are legal and carefully regulated. There is a lot of confusion among the general public about what exactly a life settlement is and how it works. Some people worry that selling their life insurance policy to a third party means going through some sort of loophole or that it’s not valid. The truth is that senior life settlements are a well-known part of the insurance industry and that insurance companies perform these transactions regularly. Companies that buy life insurance policies have to follow careful regulations governing their practices, transparency and potential conflicts of interest. This is true whether the buyer is an insurance company or strictly deals in life settlements.
  2. You will not get the full amount of your policy. For seniors, life settlements can be a much-needed way to get a large sum of money quickly. For many seniors a settlement is a great option to pay for unforeseen expenses. But it is important to understand how a settlement works and how much you will make. The buyer will eventually receive your full benefit amount, the amount the policy is for on paper. That benefit will cover the cost they paid you for the settlement and provide the profit margin that makes the senior life settlement industry possible. Thus, there is no way they can pay you the full amount of your policy death benefit. 
  3. You will get more than the surrender value. The good news for seniors is that life settlements do provide a much higher cash value than simply surrendering the policy. Insurance companies generally allow you to “surrender” a life insurance policy, effectively getting a small payment immediately in order to give up your beneficiaries’ rights to the full benefit later. But this surrender value is much, much lower than the befit amount. Senior life settlements pay substantially more than the surrender value.
  4. You can use the payment for anything you want. For many seniors, life settlements are a way to offset burdensome costs, such as unexpected medical bills or the cost of long term care such as assisted living. However, sometimes healthy and active seniors will also utilize life settlements as a way to bolster retirement accounts and maintain the lifestyle they prefer for their golden years. Your settlement money is yours to do with as you see fit. 

Are you considering a life settlement?

Labels: , ,

Monday, June 23, 2014

Tips for Selling Your Life Insurance

A life settlement is a transaction in which an individual sells his or her life insurance policy to someone other than the insurance company which issued the policy. Prior to the creation of these transactions, if you owned a policy that you no longer wanted, you had two choices – either you could surrender the policy for its cash value or allow it to lapse. In today's economically unstable environment, many people unfortunately may need the money they had set aside for tragedy now. In some instances, the elderly are no longer capable of even keeping up with their premium payments.

The way a life settlement works is that the purchasers of the settlement pay off the policy holder in a lump sum and then typically either hold the policies to maturity, a death, for example, and then collect the benefits for themselves. The amount that the settlement is worth depends upon a few factors, such as the insured person's age and health, as well as the terms and conditions of the policy. In some instances, a life settlement can be worth up to 8 times as much as just selling your policy back to the bank that issued it. Here are two tips that experts agree should be taken into consideration when preparing to complete a settlement:

1. Research the Facts – While a death benefit can be tax free, a policy that's cashed out isn't. If you plan on selling your policy, make sure to consider the taxes you will be paying, as well as all other fees associated with the sale, in your calculations. Keep in mind that the offer price will typically be well below the face value of the life insurance policy; the seller can receive around 50 cents for each dollar of "intrinsic" value in a sold policy.

2. Find the Best Company to sell to– This will probably be one of the biggest economic decisions of your life, so it is definitely not one to be taken lightly or made quickly. Find the best company and the deal possible. Experts also recommend that you never agree to a settlement without a written offer from the buyer. Make sure to select a financial professional who has experience with life settlements that can explain all of the moving parts of the deal, including the specific repercussions for you. Remember, the sale of the policy is irreversible and should not be done hastily. 

In the still recovering economy, people need money now. Selling your life insurance and completing a life settlement is a viable option for those in need of immediate funds.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Can I Sell My Life Insurance Policy? The Surprising Answer

When you bought life insurance, chances are good that you expected it to be many long years before your policy became relevant. Most people buy life insurance when they are healthy and have little expectation of dying. The payout of the policy then becomes a "dormant" asset, a chunk of money that may eventually be accessible to your family, and which you are paying for every month, but which you cannot do anything with. For most people, this is not an issue and it's something they don't think about—you'd probably never wonder whether it's possible to sell your policy.

However, if you find out you have a life-threatening illness, you may suddenly view your life insurance very differently. Suddenly, insurance money that no one can touch until after you are gone may not seem like such a reassuring thought. With major terminal illnesses come medical bills, often massive ones that could put you and your family deep in debt. During these times, you may also be asked to make difficult decisions—potentially even denied treatment that you cannot pay for. These costs can dwarf the funeral expenses and other costs you expected your life insurance to pay for.

Many people are surprised to find that the answer is yes. There are specialized insurance trading companies that can purchase a life insurance policy from you. This is not the same thing as canceling a policy or asking for an early payout; instead, it is known as a viatical settlement.

When you sell your insurance policy, you will be paid a lump sum equal to a fixed portion of the eventual policy value. This money is yours immediately to use as you see fit: it can help offset medical bills, or it can help you transform the quality of your care and day-to-day life. It may even be used to achieve a longstanding life dream. There are no limits or restrictions on how you use the profit from your sale. The company that purchases your insurance policy will take over paying the premiums, and will become the policy beneficiary.

Obviously, this represents a trade-off. When you sell your policy your relatives will no longer receive money to help with expenses after you pass. On the other hand, if a life threatening illness has made expenses today much greater than expenses tomorrow, it's often worth it. Contact us at Asset Funding Corporation today and see if you qualify!

Labels: , ,