Seniors gain greater consumer protections under new law
News: 2015 Press Release
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - New consumer protections were ushered in yesterday when Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 575, authored by Senator Carol Liu. Sponsored by Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, the new law protects consumers, specifically the elderly and their caregivers by requiring long-term care insurers to provide annual notification of the availability of nonforfeiture benefits and contingent benefits to the insured and the insured's designated backup contact.
"This notification will give seniors and their loved ones a clearer understanding of benefits available to help finance and provide long-term care," said Commissioner Jones. "Without notification, individuals and their families can easily lose track of the existence of the benefits and may end up paying for care or missing out on benefits that are available to them. I would like to thank Senator Liu for authoring this important bill."
Consumers may stop making premium payments because they can no longer afford them. Although the long-term care benefits may still be available to the consumer even after they stop making payments, the benefits may not be utilized by the consumer until years after the policy has lapsed, which is why consumers may forget the benefits are available for use.
SB 575 earned strong bipartisan support in the Legislature and was supported by the Congress of California Seniors, California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, the California Commission on Aging, California Retired Teachers Association, California Health Advocates, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, National Association of Social Workers, and the Arc and United Cerebral Palsy California Collaboration.
The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $289 billion in premiums annually in California. Since 2011 the California Department of Insurance received more than 1,000,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $394 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance web site at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP or 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.