Obtaining life insurance is always going to be one of the most important financial decisions you make. Providing financial security to your family in the event tragedy strikes is not only wise but something more consumers need to start actively pursuing.
Not long ago, life insurance was cut and dry. You pay a monthly premium to the life insurance company, and in exchange, your family is provided a death benefit in the event you prematurely pass away.
Sure, other options have always been around such as whole life insurance, universal life insurance, and even variable life insurance. Nonetheless, life insurance in most circumstances is purchased for protection and peace of mind. Things have started to shift in recent years.
New life insurance policies offering benefits we haven’t seen in the past are beginning to emerge and provide families with complete and total protection against more than just death.
Ameritas Life Insurance Company is one of those companies offering this “new” form of life insurance, and it’s one of the best we have seen.
Let’s introduce Ameritas Life Insurance and give you a breakdown of this life insurance that we frequently refer to as “life insurance with living benefits.”
A Brief Look at Ameritas Life Insurance Company
Ameritas Life Insurance is currently one of the companies that fall under the umbrella of Ameritas Mutual Holding Company. Ameritas has a proven track record in the life insurance industry and has been around for over 100 years.
It’s a name that consumers can trust, and Ameritas makes all efforts to remain a top life insurance company in the market.
Ameritas is one of many mutual life insurance companies offering coverage. This only means that by purchasing a life insurance policy with Ameritas, you take an active part in the profits of the company in the form of yearly dividend payments.
The opposite of this structure would be known as a public company which means that the company is composed of outside stockholders instead of policy owners.
This alone isn’t something that necessarily sets Ameritas apart from the crowd or something that makes them an immediate go-to life insurance provider. We are getting to that shortly. Ameritas life was part of a merger in 2013. Acacia and Ameritas merged, but the Ameritas named prevailed.
Financial Strength Ratings with Ameritas Life Insurance Company
Currently, Ameritas is awarded an “A” rating from A.M. Best. This isn’t the highest rating that can be awarded, but it’s certainly close and shows Ameritas is a powerhouse financially and built to remain solvent and relevant within the life insurance industry for the distant future.
Ameritas was awarded equally as strong financial strength grades from Standard and Poor’s “A+” and currently has a Comdex rating of 82.
Sitting on over 25 billion dollars of assets under management and over 2 billion in annual revenue, it’s clear that Ameritas knows a thing or two about this industry and has the insurance products to back it up.
Ameritas Life Insurance Companies BBB Ratings and Complaints Filed
Ameritas Life is currently boasting an outstanding A+ grade from the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and only has a handful of complaints lodged against them since 2017 with over 80% of those complaints currently showing status as “resolved.”
While this may be true of many life insurance companies, it is essential to understand that you are considering a company that takes pride in keeping complaints at a minimum and when they do surface, they are handled quickly and professionally.
Life Insurance Products Offered by Ameritas Life
Ameritas Life Insurance Company currently offers products that don’t look much out of the ordinary from what you would typically see with all life insurance companies. They now offer the following products to consumers.
• Indexed Universal Life Insurance
• Whole Life Insurance
• Universal Life Insurance
• Variable Life Insurance
• Term Life Insurance
How Ameritas Life Makes A Statement. Life Insurance with Living Benefits
We started this article with the intentions of providing you some information about how Ameritas Life Insurance Company sets themselves apart from the crowd.
The living benefits built into their life insurance products is precisely how they stand out and really separate themselves from the competition.
In a big way.
In fact, Ameritas arguably offers one of the best life insurance policies because of its living benefits features. The fact that the pricing doesn’t differ compared to many other life insurance companies offering coverage regardless of whether those companies offer living benefits or not is another big positive if you ask us.
Living Benefits with Ameritas Life. Accelerated Death Benefits
With Ameritas Life Insurance, your life insurance policy will have the option of including living benefits also known as ADB’s or “accelerated death benefits.” These are designed to protect you against what can happen while living. Not protect you from what happens when you are dead.
The best part is, the policy does both. It’s your typical life insurance policies that is assigned a “face value” or death benefit that you choose when initially apply for the coverage.
The only difference is that with Ameritas, you will have the option to gain access to this “cash” or the death benefit of the policy while living.
But how do you do that?
Well to qualify and have access to the face value or death benefit you would need to be eligible under the terms of the policy. This would include being diagnosed by a licensed physician of meeting the requirement of being either terminally ill, chronically ill or critically ill or injured.
Those are your three primary triggers in the beginning phase of accessing the death benefit cash. Let’s recap. You need to be one of the following to occur.
- Chronically Ill
- Terminally Ill
- Critically Ill or Injured
Now that we have the initial qualifications out of the way for life insurance with living benefits let’s discuss what this means.
Terminal Illness Qualifications with Ameritas (1 Way to Qualify)
With Ameritas, the terminal illness portion of your life insurance with living benefits would require you being diagnosed by a certified physician as being expected to pass away within 12 months or less.
Up next you have the option of qualifying for living benefits under the critical illness portion of your living benefits.
Critical Illness with Ameritas Life Insurance Company (15 Ways to Qualify)
With Ameritas, qualifying under the critical illness portion of your policy will have several potential “triggers” or ways to access your benefits.
For starters before listing out those potential ways you could access the cash, it’s important to understand that you would have a waiting period for three of the potential illnesses that may arise. Here’s a look at those illnesses and waiting periods.
• Stroke- 30 Day Waiting Period
• Paralysis- 90 Day Waiting Period
• Coma- 96 Hour Waiting Period
These are the only three conditions with a waiting period that is completely specific to the actual medication condition. Here’s a look at all the other potential triggers that could allow you access to the cash or “death benefit” portion of your life insurance policy while living.
#1 -Invasive and Life-Threatening Cancer
Falling under this category with Ameritas life would require the presence of one or more malignant tumors and characterize by the uncontrolled growth and or spread of the malignant tumors.
This can also include invasion of normal cell or tissue or your cancer beginning to “metastasis”. Some common cancers that would be included under this portion of your living benefits could be the following.
• Multiple Myeloma
• Myelodysplastic Syndrome
Up next, we can collect the death benefits with Ameritas Life Insurance Company due to stroke (don’t forget about the waiting period discussed previously).
#2 Stroke Qualifications for Living Benefits with Ameritas
Outside of the waiting period we mentioned earlier, you have a few other details you need to know about qualifying for living benefits with Ameritas due to stroke. Here’s a summary.
TIA’s Don’t Qualify for Or Trigger Your Living Benefits
TIA’s (Transient Ischemic Attacks, retinal vessel illnesses, and lacunar infarcts do not meet the definition of a stroke to qualify for the living benefits portion of your life insurance policy with Ameritas Life.
#3- Heart Attacks with Ameritas Life Insurance
With Ameritas life, to be eligible for your living benefits under the heart attack portion of your living benefits, you would need to meet the following definition.
Major Heart Attack- When you opt to use your living benefits with Ameritas due to a heart attack, the certified physician would need to document and provide information about the heart attack and confirm one of the following items.
• EKG- EKG Needs to Support the Diagnosis
• Angiography Would Need to Identify Intracoronary
• Imaging Confirming the Loss of Heart Muscle or Tissue
#4- End Stage Renal Failure
End-stage renal failure is another one of the 15 ways to qualify for living benefits with Ameritas Life Insurance under the critical illness portion of your life insurance policy.
End-stage renal failure would be defined as the irreversible or total failure of both kidneys in which either hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis is considered “medically necessary.”
#5- Major Organ Transplants
Major organs transplant qualifications would be confirmed by the insured being placed on a transplant list or having been the recent recipient of either heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas or even bone marrow.
#6- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
#7- Blindness Due to Diabetes
This can be defined as a total and irreversible loss of your vision in both eyes solely because of diabetic retinopathy. Corrected visual acuity is 20/200 or less in both eyes or the field of view being less than 20 degrees in both eyes
#8 Paralysis of Two or More Limbs
With Ameritas, to qualify under this portion of your critical illness, you would need to have permanent loss of two or more limbs due to injury or neurological injury for 90 consecutive days.
#9- Major Burns
Yep, even major burns are a trigger that will allow you access to your cash while living with Ameritas. It needs to be classified as a third-degree burn and cover at least 20% of the body.
Refer to The Waiting Period Previously Mentioned
#11- Aplastic Anemia
This is classified as chronic and persistent bone marrow failure which can be confirmed in most circumstances with a biopsy.
#12- Benign Brain Tumor
Non- Cancerous tumor on the brain causing neurological issues can also be a way to qualify you for living benefits with Ameritas.
#13- Aortic Aneurysm
#14- Heart Valve Replacement
#15- Coronary Artery Bypass or Graft Surgery
Chronic Illness with Ameritas Life
To qualify for living benefits under the chronic illness portion of your living benefits, you would need to be unable to perform 2 of the 6 daily living activities for 90 days or more or have suffered severe cognitive impairment that requires supervision.
Another big thing to keep in mind is that under the chronic illness portion of your benefits, you will need to be certified by a physician every 12 months to continue using your living benefits.
Let’s recap, 2 of these 6 daily living activities would need to be impacted to qualify for chronic care benefits with Ameritas.
When the unfortunate circumstances do occur, and you can no longer perform 2 of the daily activities listed above for 90 days, you can access up to 90% of your policies face value. A simple way to look at this would be the following example.
Let’s assume you have a policy with a face value or death benefit of 250,000. If you can qualify under any of the triggers we have listed here today, you would now have access to the following.
250,000 x .90%= $225,000.00 (Cash to You)
That’s 225,000.00 to help pay for the expensive medical cost, relieve the burden on your family and protect your assets while living. Not just when you’re dead.
Let’s touch on some other frequently asked questions about living benefits with Ameritas Life Insurance Company.
Who Receives My Cash Payout?
When you pass away, it’s always the same scenario. Your beneficiaries listed in your policy receive the cash proceeds, but with living benefits, the proceeds are paid to the policy owner and then deducted from the total benefit or “face amount” of the original policy.
What Are My Pay Out Options with Ameritas for Living Benefits?
With Ameritas, your benefit will be provided to you in a lump sum but only if the cash acceleration is due to critical or terminal illness. Under the chronic illness portion of the benefits, you will be paid either a lump sum or potentially installments up to designated amounts set by by the IRS.
We are not accountants, so it’s important to check your tax consequences to help reduce your overall tax burden for accelerating your benefits under the chronic care subsection of your living benefits.
Do I Have to Take All of My Benefits?
Not at all. When you qualify for living benefits, you never have to take the full benefits available to you. It’s up to you how much you choose to use if you qualify for the benefits. You are allowed up to 5 total accelerations throughout the duration or life of the policy.
If you don’t use it all this time around and something else does occur, you will still have the option to accelerate more of the cash in the future.
Do I Get to Keep My Death Benefits and The Living Benefits?
No, unfortunately, the life insurance companies are going to allow for double dipping. Whatever portion of the living benefits you choose to accelerate now, will ultimately be deducted from your total benefit in the future. Here’s an example.
• 250,000.00 Term Life Insurance Policy with Living Benefits
• Critical Illness Qualification is Verified. You Accelerate 90% To Cover Hospital Bills.
• 250,000 x .90% = 225,000.00 Cash Paid to You.
• 25,000.00 Death Benefit Remaining for Your Beneficiaries at Death
What If I’m Approved for Coverage at Higher Rates Than Usual?
That’s perfectly fine. No worries. If you are approved with Ameritas for coverage at a Table D or better, you will be assessed an extra flat charge on your coverage not to exceed 5 dollars per thousand in some circumstances.
If your coverage is approved worse than a Table D, you can still qualify for terminal illness benefits, but your option to accelerate cash due to critical or chronic illness will be removed.
Do I Have to Pay Anything for These Additional Benefits?
No, unless you fall into the lower health classes that we just touched on previously. If you opt to accelerate your benefits and qualify for them, here are the 4 factors the life insurance will consider for your payout.
1.) Your Estimated Life Expectancy
2.) Amount of Accelerated Death Benefit Minus Any Unpaid Premiums
3.) Accelerated Benefit Interest Rate in Effect
4.) 250.00 One Time Administrative Fee for Processing the Claim (Some States Vary)
What’s the Maximum Amount of Coverage I can Apply for With Living Benefits?
We figured you may ask this. Glad you did. Living benefits are a great feature to have, and l would also recommend getting as much coverage as possible. Currently, the maximum with Ameritas is 1,666,666. I know, an odd number.
*This only means that any policy larger than 1.66 million will not have living benefits included.
Are Living Benefits with Ameritas Available Everywhere?
No, but very close. Currently, the only state not offering living benefits built into the life insurance policies with Ameritas is California. All other states will have this option for coverage.
What Should I Do Next?
If you are convinced that living benefits is the new way of doing things and that your family needs protection not only at your death but while you are alive, you can start by comparing rates on the instant quote form on your left hand side of this page.
This is going to not only show you rates with Ameritas but also display rates for other top companies offering life insurance with living benefits. Plenty of great companies provide this form of life insurance, but all of them have unique strengths and weaknesses.
Here’s a few of them we also recommend checking out.
• Foresters Life Insurance Company
• Phoenix Life Insurance Company
• American National Life Insurance Company
• Protective Life Insurance Company
Living Benefits Are Here to Stay, What Are You Going to Do About It?
Listen, I understand if this entire idea of life insurance paying you while living is somewhat odd or new. It was new to the independent agencies like us too but seeing the benefits that they can provide for you and your family is enough to get us fully onboard.
It’s time to think of protecting your family in ways that doesn’t necessarily require having a funeral. Medical expenses can bankrupt a family just as quickly as your premature passing can.
So, what are you going to do about it?