In the News

Patch: Bill Would Help California's Senior Citizens Age In Place At Home

Bill Would Help California's Senior Citizens Age In Place At Home.

Congresswoman Katie Porter of the 45th District in Orange County reintroduced bipartisan legislation that would make it easier for older Americans to age in place, her office reported Thursday.

The Homecare for Seniors Act, which was introduced with Congressman Don Bacon (NE-2), changes the law to allow older adults to use funds from their health savings accounts (HSAs) for homecare.

Porter discussed the bipartisan bill, and how it relates to her district.

"For Orange County seniors who want to age in their own homes, we should honor their wishes by making it as easy as possible for them to stay in our communities," said Congresswoman Porter. "My bipartisan bill gives older adults the flexibility to make their own choices by allowing them to use their own money that they've set aside to pay for homecare. I'm proud to work across the aisle to get this done."

Americans can set aside money tax-free in HSAs to pay for medical expenses, but current law doesn't allow these funds to be used for home care.

Under Porter's legislation, older adults would be able to use these accounts, which they've put their own money into, to pay for qualified home care services.

That means, our older generation would have added assistance with eating, toileting, bathing, dressing, and assistance with continence or medication adherence without having to leave their residences.

"Ensuring the mental and physical health of our senior citizens is important," said Congressman Bacon. "As seniors get older and need assistance, they have a right to receive the necessary care in their own homes. However, under current law, many seniors who have invested in health savings accounts are unable to use those funds to pay for home care services like eating, bathing, and dressing. This bill fixes that and allows these funds to cover assistance expenses. I thank Rep. Porter for her advocacy and partnership on this bill."

This legislation also has the support of the National Home Care and Hospice Association, National Council on Aging, Home Instead, Caregiver Action Network, California Association for Health Services at Home, Alzheimer's Foundation, Home Care Association of America, National Alliance of Caregivers, and LeadingAge.

In Congress, Porter has been a consistent advocate for older Americans. Last year, her bill to protect seniors with high out-of-pocket medical costs was signed into law.

She introduced the bipartisan Medicare Economic Security Solutions Act, which would cap unfair late enrollment penalties.

In her first year in office, Porter held a town hall specifically focusing on issues affecting older adults, and she secured additional House support for a federal program to protect seniors from Medicare fraud.

Porter and Bacon are joined in introducing this legislation by a bipartisan group of members including Reps. Cindy Axne, Ben Cline, Jim Cooper, Brian Fitzpatrick, Jeff Fortenberry, Morgan Griffith, Raúl M. Grijalva, Glenn Grothman, Jaime Herrera Beutler, Sheila Jackson Lee, Tom Malinowski, Jamie Raskin, Michael San Nicolas, Adrian Smith, Darren Soto, Jeff Van Drew, Jackie Walorski, Nikema Williams, and Frederic Wilson.