January 15, 2019 – by Michael Gordon
Deviating from my normal format of taking a question I have received, which I feel may be of general interest and responding to that question, this month something has come to my attention which I believe warrants sharing.
In doing elder law plans to facilitate people taking action in order to qualify for Medicaid and similar governmental benefits, a good number of seniors have been led to believe that they must allow their life insurance policies to lapse in order to accomplish their end.
In the last session of Congress, Representatives Kenny Marchant, R-Texas and Brian Higgins, D/NY introduced a bipartisan bill to allow seniors, regardless of their health status, to use their life insurance policies to fund a wide range of health costs, including long-term care expenses and long-term care insurance premiums. The bill was introduced in the last session of Congress and was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee upon which the current sponsors of the bill serve. Because it was introduced late in the session, it was not reached.
However, it is anticipated that it will, again, be filed in the new session of Congress which has just begun.
This is a concept which has been espoused by several life insurance company executives who have expressed delight in the proposed legislation. One such executive was quoted as saying “seniors who have felt they had no choice but to lapse a life insurance policy to qualify for Medicaid now have an option that can improve their lives in their final years. This is an important step toward finding solutions to the long-term care crisis this country faces.”
The bill’s supporters believe there is widespread, bipartisan support believing this may be a solution to the growing cost of senior care in the country that cuts the cost of a massive tax payer-financed government program.
I am sure that mention of this bill will begin to appear in the news, and upon its implementation there will be a great deal of publicity relating to it. Stay tuned.
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