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New 2022 Illinois Legislation Impacting Seniors and Loved Ones – Including Those Who Are Currently Eligible For, or Who May Seek Eligibility for Medicaid for Long-Term Care

The Illinois winter legislative session began on January 4, 2022 and ended on April 9, 2022.  Here are some of the session’s highlights:

  1. Prepaid funeral/burial (HB4979). Effective immediately. This allows existing life insurance policies to be used to fund and purchase Medicaid compliant prepaid funeral/burial contracts.
  2. Prepaid funeral/burial (HB 4079). Effective immediately. The right to obtain a prepaid funeral/ burial contract exists even after you file the Medicaid application if you make the purchase before the notice of decision is issued regarding your Medicaid application.
  3. Power of Attorney Statutory Short Form (HB 5047). Effective January 1, 2023.  Changes the statutory Short Form Power of Attorney for Healthcare statute to include the option to present the form electronically (as presented on electronic device) as proof that your agent has power of attorney for your health matters.
  4. Guardian Appointment – Training (HB 4366). Effective January 1, 2023. This provides that in counties that have more than 3 million people must require that a guardian of the person must complete a training program.
  5. Medical Patient Rights – Visitation (Senate Bill 1405). As a result of the recent pandemic, many long-term care residents, sadly, were not able to see family member even during their final days. This new law provides that even during a gubernatorially declared pandemic, at least one person (not counting a clergy person) must be allowed to visit the resident of the facility. This will be effective upon becoming law by the signature of the governor.
  6. Medicaid Omnibus Bill and Relief for Community Spouses (HB 4343). Effective immediately. Finally, after many years Illinois has decided to attempt to keep up with the federal government in the amount of asset allowance and income allowance that a community spouse (the spouse they can continue to remain at home in the family residence) can keep while the institutionalized spouse is in a nursing home and in Medicaid. First, subject to federal approval, the monthly income allowance of the community spouse (CSMNA) is being raised monthly from the current $2,739 to the federal level which is $3,435, beginning in January 2023. Secondly, and also subject to federal approval, on January 1, 2024, the community spouse resource allowance (CSRA) which is currently in the state of Illinois at a reduced level of $109,560, will increase at a rate of 2.5% per year for the next 10 years until it reaches the federal level, which is approximately $135,000.
  7. The “Unwinding” of the COVID-19 National Pandemic According to CMS and Illinois MedicaidCMS has instructed all states, including Illinois, that upon the conclusion of the Covid-19 pandemic, to resume eligibility asset/income audits and to resume annual redeterminations of cases that were approved over the last couple of years during the pandemic. According to CMS, the pandemic was continued beyond May 15, 2022 by Executive Order of the President. However, once the pandemic “unwinding” process begins, all Medicaid applications that were previously automatically approved (with no asset testing or examination) will be examined and at a very quick pace. There will be legal issues of due process and the need for advance notice, fair hearings, and appeals. States will have 60 days after the date that the pandemic is declared ended, by future Executive Order of the President, to begin the process of “unwinding” the pandemic with income/asset audits and annual redeterminations.