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Senator Lee, District 20 — Press Release


October 5, 2017

CONTACT: Sarah Schwirian, 813-653-7061

Senator Tom Lee Files Bill to Increase Financial Protections for Florida's Seniors

Thonotosassa, Fla. —

Senator Tom Lee announced today the filing of Senate Bill 438, a piece of legislation aimed at increasing financial protections for Floridians in Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs).

There are 71 licensed CCRCs in Florida serving approximately 30,000 residents. When a senior decides to join a CCRC, it is a significant decision and a huge investment of their assets – usually their life’s savings.

“In the last five years, three CCRCs have filed for bankruptcy in our state, leaving some of our most vulnerable citizens with a lot of uncertainty about what is going to happen in the final stages of their lives,” Senator Lee said. “While the majority of these facilities are operating in good faith, these incidents have highlighted the need to reexamine our laws to ensure we’re adequately protecting residents and the assets they’ve worked so hard to accumulate.”

Senate Bill 438 provides a regulatory framework designed to give the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) the necessary authority to intervene earlier to prevent a CCRC’s financial challenge from becoming a crisis.

“Most recently, a CCRC in my community allowed unqualified and unapproved individuals to take over, bleed the facility of all liquidity, and use bankruptcy as a shield to evade regulatory action,” Senator Lee added. “These kind of activities cause an inordinate amount of stress on employees, residents, and their families. This legislation gives OIR the necessary tools and oversight to aid struggling CCRCs and ensure they can fulfill their promises to seniors.”

Senate Bill 438 increases transparency and communication with CCRC residents, creates a new early warning intervention system to allow the OIR and CCRCs to work together to resolve any potential issues, and improves regulatory efficiencies by promoting financial stability and prohibiting hazardous transactions.