In 2019, Washington state enacted the Long-Term Services and Supports Trust Act, which is designed to provide eligible residents (those employed throughout the state) with up to $100 per day, with a maximum lifetime limit of $36,500 (adjusted for inflation), to pay for long-term care services including professional care at home or nursing facilities, care by family members, home-delivered meals, dementia support, and adaptive equipment (e.g., wheelchair ramps). You vest in this plan by paying in for at least ten years or three out of the six previous years. Then you will not have to worry about losing coverage if you lose your job or retire— you will not have to pay anything when you are not working. Benefits will be available beginning on January 1, 2025.
The Washington Employment Security Department (ESD) is currently developing rules to implement certain provisions of the Program. ESD has released Phase 1 and 2 of the proposed rules, which went into effect in June 2021 and September 2021, respectively. The ESD outlines a timeline of the implementation of the Program here.
In addition, the Washington legislature recently passed amendments to the Program (SHB 1323), which, among other things, would make it more difficult for employees to obtain an exemption from paying the required premiums. Although Washington legislature passed SHB 1323 on 4/27/21, the first-in-the-nation program to help Washingtonians pay long-term healthcare costs is on hold, just two weeks before it was about to start.
KUOW’s Olympia correspondent Austin Jenkins catches us up on the future of the Washington Cares program in the podcast below.