New Legislation in California & How It Affects Seniors

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Senior Laws

Many families rely on inheritances to pay for a loved one’s funeral expenses, which is one of the reasons why Governor Jerry Brown signed the SB833 legislation. The new law changes many of the rules of the Medi-Cal program overseen by the California Department of Health Care Services. All seniors enrolled in the estate recovery plan after the age of 55 will be affected by this new legislation, and they might need to take some steps to prevent their estate from going into probate. The additional estate planning could have an impact on your loved one’s wellbeing, especially if he or she has a long-term health condition. 

Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality home care. Lincoln, CA families trust in Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.

Here are a few things you need to know about the new SB833 legislation in California.

Expanding the Medi-Cal Recovery Program

During the 1980s, new legislation altered how the Medi-Cal Recovery program worked. This legislation gave the program complete control over which assets they were allowed to seize to reimburse the state for Medi-Cal benefits. Even a surviving spouse could have a lien placed on mutual assets such as homes, insurance policies, and retirement accounts. Medi-Cal Recovery also had the authority to set its own interest rates, which often resulted in a large percentage of the deceased individual’s estate going directly to the state before being passed on to his or her heirs. 

SB833 Protects Seniors and Their Loved Ones

SB833 is the newest piece of legislation to impact the estate recovery program, and it has completely changed what the Department of Health Care Services can seize after an enrollee passes away. Not only can Medi-Cal Recovery no longer place a lien on a living spouse’s assets, but caps have been placed on the lien interest rates as well. Those who have smaller homesteads may no longer have their assets seized as long as their overall estate is relatively small. If an individual’s estate doesn’t go into probate, there is a relatively small chance a lien will be placed on his or her assets. 

As a caregiver, you may have to take a break from your caregiving duties and speak with your loved one’s lawyer about the SB833 regulation. If you are the primary caregiver for a senior loved one in Lincoln, respite care is available when you need time away from your important caregiving duties. At Home Care Assistance, our respite caregivers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help your loved one manage everyday tasks in the comfort of home while you have the chance to take a much-needed break.

What Can Medi-Cal Recovery Take?

Many seniors do not consider establishing a living trust or protecting their assets in a similar manner. When these documents are not signed and filed, the court can place the estate in probate until it establishes the valid beneficiaries. From the moment an estate is in probate, Medi-Cal Recovery can then reimburse itself. These regulations affect adults who enroll in Medi-Cal past the age of 55 and pass away after January 1st, 2017. 

How Seniors Can Protect Their Estates

Even seniors who have few assets and small estates should still consider meeting with an estate lawyer to discuss their options. Establishing a living will is one of the most effective ways to protect assets after being incapacitated or passing away. Those who are currently receiving Medi-Cal benefits or have received Medi-Cal benefits in the past might also want to speak with a lawyer before moving to a different state. Moving could potentially invalidate the SB833 regulations and put their estate in jeopardy.

Although the SB833 regulation could offer some relief, seniors are still susceptible to several physical, mental, and emotional problems. Aging in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving live-in care. Lincoln, CA, Home Care Assistance are leaders in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our caregivers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s. If you need a dedicated and professional caregiver for your senior loved one, call us at (916) 226-3737 today.   


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