The Prudential Annuities arm of Prudential Financial Inc. has introduced a variable annuity living benefits option designed to appeal to consumers who might use the option to pay for home-based long term care.

Prudential, Newark, N.J., has included the option in the new Highest Daily Lifetime Seven with Lifetime Accelerator product, an updated version of the Highest Daily Lifetime Seven VA option.

The Highest Daily Lifetime Seven VA option offers guaranteed lifetime access to annuity withdrawals.

When VA buyers choose the Lifetime Income Accelerator option, they can double their guaranteed annual income if they are either unable to perform 2 or more activities of daily living, or confined to a qualified nursing facility, Prudential says.

Other VA long-term care income increase options require an annuity holder collecting the income to be in a qualified nursing facility, Prudential says.

For holders of the new option, “a waiting period of 3 years following the initial benefit election applies before accelerated income can begin,” Prudential says. “Additionally, a 120-day elimination period applies; the waiting period and elimination period may run concurrently.”

The total annual cost for HD Lifetime Seven with Lifetime Income Accelerator is 0.95% of the “protected withdrawal value amount” per quarter, Prudential says.

Prudential notes that about 81% of consumers who bought VA contracts in the first quarter bought optional living benefits.

The total value of accounts with guaranteed withdrawal benefits for life at the end of that period was about $17 billion, Prudential says.

Prudential’s Pruco Life Insurance Company and Prudential Annuities Life Assurance Corp. issue the VA contracts in most states and are responsible for the guarantees they issue.

Pruco Life Insurance Company of New Jersey, Newark, N.J., issues the annuities and backs the guarantees in New York.