MetLife has introduced a new feature for its whole life insurance policies that lets customers use their life insurance death benefit for health care if they develop a prolonged illness.
The Enhanced Care Benefit is available as a rider on whole life policies sold after Sept. 3, 2013, in states where the new offering has been approved. The rider lets customers access up to 90 percent of their policies' death benefits, generally on a tax-free basis up to certain limits, to pay for care during a long illness. The rider can be included on a policy with no increase in the life insurance premium, although there is a $150 processing fee.
"By including the Enhanced Care Benefit on a policy, people will be getting another level of financial protection in the unfortunate event of the insured having a prolonged illness," MetLife senior vice president Gene Lunman said in a press statement.
The new rider comes on the heels of recent additions to MetLife's whole life portfolio. The company recently introduced MetLife Promise Whole Life Select, which are limited-pay policies that offer the same guarantees as other whole life policies. Customers can pay premiums over a specified period of 10 or 20 years or have a paid up policy by age 65.