The Growing Impact of Chronic Illness

79% of workers are concerned about suffering a chronic or long-term condition or illness, and most are financially unprepared for that event.1

No one plans on falling ill

But when a person becomes chronically ill, it impacts their daily living and ability to work. Having additional financial resources can reduce stress and help them focus on what matters most. Right now, millions of adults in the U.S. are estimated to be suffering from a chronic illness. The chance of becoming chronically ill grows with age. 


Someone turning age 65 today has almost a 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care services and supports in their remaining years.2

As Americans are living and working longer, it is important for employers and their brokers to understand the potential impacts of chronic illness on their workforce.

The next chapter of your Financial Wellness story

Read the 2020 Chronic Care Survey to equip yourself with the knowledge and resources to inform your clients of the cost of chronic illness and the need for coverage. The study is designed to help brokers and consultants:

8 in 10

(79%) workers are concerned about suffering a long-term illness.1

2/3of consumers age 30-40 are interested in life insurance chronic care benefits.1 Now it’s time to find a solution that fits.

Employee health issues translate into billions in higher healthcare costs, lower productivity, and lost wages annually.3 Help alleviate this stress with a benefit both employees and their employers can count on.

Making a great plan even better

At MassMutual, we're committed to providing innovative, industry-leading financial wellness solutions that help you and your clients build financial security for life's what ifs.

MassMutual’s Group Whole Life Insurance provides a guaranteed death benefit and builds cash value. Along with available riders and features, it includes the Chronic Care benefit on all certificates that gives the insured the ability to accelerate a portion of their death benefit to help deal with the financial impact of a chronic illness. This feature has several advantages:

  • No waiting period
  • No conditions on how money is spent
  • No additional premiums4
  • No out-of-pocket costs

Download the 2020 Chronic Care Survey

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¹ The MassMutual Chronic Care Research Survey, conducted by PSB Research, polled 1,250 adults aged 30 -60. Of consumers polled, 32% were very concerned and 47% were somewhat concerned (79%), rounded to 80%. The Survey was completed in November 2019 and published in 2020.

², U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2017., U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2017.

³ The Cost of Chronic Disease in the U.S., Milken Institute, 2018, (The total direct cost of Alzheimers’ Disease was $185.9 billion in 2016.  Figure 1, p. 1)


There is no premium required for the Chronic Care Benefit, however, there are fees if this provision is exercised. The certificate’s premium payments will be based on the reduced amount of insurance at the current rate. There is an actuarial discount for the Chronic Care Benefit which is a percentage of the Eligible Amount for the Chronic Care Benefit less the administrative charge. The percentage depends on the Insured’s age at the time the benefit is exercised: 18% for ages 45 and above; 27% for ages 44-35; 36% for under age 35. The sum of the actuarial discount and the administrative charge, along with any due and unpaid premiums of any certificate debt, are then directly deducted from the Eligible Amount.

This is a life insurance benefit that also gives certificate owners the option to accelerate some or all of the death benefit in the event the insured meets the criteria. This policy or certificate does not provide long-term care insurance subject to California long-term care insurance law. This policy or certificate is not a California Partnership for Long-Term Care program policy. This policy or certificate is not a Medicare supplement (policy or certificate).

Receipt of accelerated death benefits may affect eligibility for public assistance programs, such as Medi-Cal or Medicaid. Prior to exercising the accelerated death benefit, certificate owners should consult with the appropriate social services agency concerning how receipt of accelerated death benefits may affect that eligibility. Accelerating the payment of the death benefit may affect eligibility for public assistance programs, including MEDICAID and SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME (“SSI”). Insureds should contact the Medicaid Unit of the local Department of Public Welfare and the Social Security Administration Office for more information.

The Chronic Care Benefit does not pay a separate benefit but is an acceleration of the life insurance benefit, reduced by an actuarial discount and an administration charge. It is paid in a lump sum and there are no restrictions on how the benefit may be used. The payment of the Chronic Care Benefit will reduce the certificate’s death benefit, cash value and any loan value.  The Chronic Care Benefit does not provide for, nor is it, long term care, nursing-home, or home care insurance. It is not conditioned upon the receipt of or designed to eliminate the need for long-term care or medical services. The Chronic Care Endorsement terminates with the life insurance certificate.

Long-term care insurance is a type of health insurance that is designed to provide coverage for diagnostic, preventive, therapeutic, rehabilitative, maintenance, or personal care services provided in a nursing home, convalescent facility, extended or custodial care facility, skilled nursing facility, similar facility, or home care.  Long term care insurance is often conditioned on the receipt of long-term care or medical services.

Except in Washington and North Carolina, the acceleration of the death benefit is intended to receive favorable tax treatment under §101(g) of the Internal Revenue Code. Accessing other similar benefits in addition to the Chronic Care benefit may cause the per diem limit to be exceeded. The insured must be chronically ill, as defined in 26 USC 7702B. Certificate owners should seek advice from a tax advisor prior to requesting a Chronic Care Benefit payment. Receipt of accelerated death benefits may be taxable. For groups policies issued in Washington or North Carolina, the Chronic Care Benefit defines a chronic illness in accordance with state insurance requirements, and may be taxable, as the state prescribed definition differs from the federal tax law definition.

The information provided is not written or intended as specific tax or legal advice. MassMutual, its subsidiaries, employees and representatives are not authorized to give tax or legal advice. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel.

The products and/or certain features may not be available in all states. State variations will apply.

Group Whole Life Insurance (GPWL), (policy/certificate forms MM-GPWL-2014 and MM-GCWL-2014, MM-GPWL-2014 (NC) and MM-GCWL-2014 (NC) in North Carolina, and MM-GPWL-2014(CA) and MMGCWL-2014(CA), is level-premium, participating permanent life insurance. The GPWL policy and GCWL certificates are issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, Springfield, MA 01111-0001.


WI6037                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            CRN20230-281453