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My elderly mother recently went to a financial planning seminar and was pressured into buying a life insurance policy she didn’t need

Dear Advocate:

My elderly mother recently went to a financial planning seminar and was pressured into buying a life insurance policy she didn’t need. How might the life insurance policy affect her Medi-Cal eligibility? Also, where can I file a complaint against the salesperson?

Sincerely, Frustrated in Fairfield

Dear Frustrated:

The value of a life insurance policy can potentially put your mother over the asset limit for Medi-Cal eligibility. The current Medi-Cal asset limit for an individual is $130,000. If the individual’s combined life insurance policies have a total face value exceeding $1,500, then the cash surrender value of the policies is counted toward the asset limit (Title 22, California Code of Regulation § 50475). However, if the combined cash value of the policies is under $1,500, then the amount is not counted towards the asset limit. In addition, if the policy your mother bought is for term life insurance, then the policy is not counted towards the asset limit. Next, to report the salesperson you will want to contact your county’s District Attorney’s office. To find your county’s District Attorney’s office you can call 916-443-2017 or go to http://www.cdaa.org. In addition, if the salesperson was an insurance agent you should file a complaint with the State Insurance Commissioner’s Office at 1-800927-4347 or http://www.insurance.ca.gov. For more information, please see CANHR’s fact sheet on Elder Financial Abuse.