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How the SB833 Legislation Affects the Elderly in California

By Mary-Frances Walsh, 9:00 am on

The SB833 legislation signed by Governor Jerry Brown went into effect on January 1st, 2017. This legislation will impact Medi-Cal recipients and their beneficiaries. Here is a closer look at some of the benefits of SB833 and how it will impact California’s Estate Recovery program. 

The History of Medicaid

Generally referred to as Medi-Cal in California, Medicaid is a national program that provides health insurance to people over the age of 65 and others who are eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. In the 1980s, California approved a piece of legislation that allowed the state to recover various assets that were in a Medi-Cal recipient’s estate after he or she passed away. Seniors who did not plan their estate carefully often had liens placed against their assets before they were transferred to their loved ones. However, this resulted in many seniors forgoing medical assistance because they believed it would have a negative impact on their beneficiaries.

If you are caring for a senior loved one who has a medical condition, consider hiring a professional caregiver. Sonoma County respite care professionals can assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, respite care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed.

New Legislation

SB833 has altered the way the state can execute Estate Recovery proceedings after a Medi-Cal beneficiary has passed away. As a general rule, the state can no longer recover compensation for medical services or health insurance premiums from an individual’s estate. However, there are still a few situations where the state has the right to recover at least some compensation from an estate, living will, or trust. Those who are admitted to various skilled nursing facilities paid for by Medi-Cal might have a lien placed on their estate while it goes through probate.

The Benefits of SB833

The SB833 legislation allows many seniors and their families to avoid some of the most common financial pitfalls that occur when a will is being executed. Both life insurance and retirement plans will now be paid directly to the heirs instead of first passing through the Estate Recovery program. Those who have smaller estates worth less than $150,000 are now completely exempt from California’s Estate Recovery program. SB833 has also taken many other factors into consideration when a lien is placed on an individual’s estate such as the current market value of his or her home. 

Protecting Your Loved One

Now that SB833 has been signed, most seniors who are currently residing in California should consider staying there. If your loved one moves out of the state, he or she will no longer be eligible to receive Medi-Cal assistance and will also lose all of the protection provided by SB833. Seniors who are still unsure of how this legislation will affect their estate should speak with an estate or elder law attorney. These legal professionals can help your loved one come up with an airtight trust that can protect his or her assets and beneficiaries.

Seniors and their families should inform themselves about the SB833 to find out how it benefits them. Family caregivers who need assistance with their caregiving duties should consider hiring a professional caregiver. Living alone at home in the golden years can present a few unique challenges. Trust in Sonoma County elder care professionals to help your senior loved one maintain a higher quality of life while he or she manages an illness and performs the daily tasks of living.

If you are the primary caregiver for a senior family member and want additional assistance from a professional home caregiver, Sonoma County Home Care Assistance is here to help. Our caregivers are available for a few hours a day to help seniors with daily tasks, and we also offer 24-hour live-in care for those who need more extensive assistance. To learn more about our elderly care services, call (707) 843.4368 to speak with one of our qualified Care Managers and schedule a complimentary consultation.