If you’ve never heard of viatical settlements and life settlements, or if you’re hearing about viatical settlements for the first time, you’re not alone. Viatical settlement companies, like American Life Fund, have been providing important financial options for people with terminal illnesses for years, but this financial option remains less known. Nevertheless, for older patients or patients of any age who have a terminal illness (like cancer patients), a viatical settlement is a great option.

A cancer diagnosis can seem like the end of the road for many, especially for older adults who may be especially susceptible to the impact this diagnosis has on their life expectancy. Plus, the added cost for paying caregivers, buying medications, and financing treatments like chemotherapy or radiation may be scary. According to the United States Census Bureau, 27.5 million Americans lived without health insurance, which makes them very ill-positioned to face a cancer diagnosis or any other health issues. If you have a family member who is looking at an impossible-seeming pin of medical bills, they may be able to help themselves with a life or viatical settlement. So, with that in mind, what’s the difference between calling up American Life Fund for a viatical settlement or a life settlement? How can these options help you and your loved ones?

Viatical Settlements

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A viatical settlement is pretty simple when it comes down to it. If an older adult or someone with a terminal diagnosis has a life insurance policy, it’s possible to sell that policy for a one-time cash payout. This lump sum is more than they’d receive if they opted for a buyout from the insurance company but less than what the eventual death benefit would be upon their passing.

Whether the policyholder is an older adult or not, they can apply for a viatical settlement through a broker like American Life Fund as long as they can show, through documents from their health care provider, that they have a life expectancy of less than two years. There’s a lot of important information that goes into this decision, as you might imagine. That’s why, if your senior family member has health literacy issues or even dementia, it’s a good idea to think about how to communicate with aging adults before bringing them any educational materials.

Life Settlements

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Life Settlements are very similar to viaticals in many ways. This option also entails the sale of a life insurance policy to a third party, usually navigated by a brokerage like American Life Fund. Life settlements usually entail a lower payout than a viatical, and while the policyholder does not need to have a terminal diagnosis to take advantage of this option, life settlements are generally reserved for older adults over 70 years of age.

If you have a senior family member who might benefit from some extra funds to improve their quality of life now, a life settlement is a good option. As the effects of aging, like hearing loss and dementia, impact seniors more and more, their quality of life is impacted. A lump sum payout may be the ticket to help pay for activities and distractions that can mitigate the social isolation and loneliness many seniors experience. Remember, this isn’t easy for anyone, so when you’re having this conversation with an elder that you love, use empathy and compassion to guide the conversation.

Viatical settlements and life settlements are not the same, despite being very similar. Nonetheless, both are useful financial options to bear in mind as you navigate the complicated terrain of health care for the elders in your life. Health literacy is important, and if you can help the elders in your life improve their quality of life, it might be a good thing to consider.