Where do things stand?
In 2019, the “Trust Act” was passed, later establishing “The WA Cares Fund.” The program would be funded by a .58% payroll tax, but included an exemption for individuals who owned private LTC insurance prior to November 1, 2021. The LTC rider included with the Allstate Whole Life and Universal, Life, Chubb Lifetime Term and Trustmark’s Universal Life and LifeEvents product qualified individuals to opt-out of the WA Cares Fund and the corresponding tax.
After the WA Cares Fund was established, the legislature created the Long-Term Services and Supports Trust Commission (Trust Commission), consisting of legislators, administering agencies, and stakeholder representatives. The Trust Commission’s purpose is to develop recommendations to update and improve the WA Cares Fund, including a potential recertification requirement for individuals who received an exemption due to private coverage.
Effective October 29, 2022, spouses and domestic partners of active-duty service members may apply for a conditional exemption from the Washington Cares program. Workers with a nonimmigrant visa for temporary workers may also be eligible to apply for a conditional exemption
What's on the docket?
The LTSS Trust Committee held its December 9th meeting, to approve the LTSS Trust Commission Recommendations Report. In regards to recertification of coverage, the report recommends:
"Require all individuals with approved exemptions to provide proof that they had purchased a qualifying LTC policy prior to November 2021 and that they have maintained their policy through the present day. To maintain an exemption, recertification is required to occur at an interval of no more frequently than annually and no less frequently than every three years, beginning in December 2024. Recertification is no longer required or possible after ten years. Legislative authority would be needed in 2023 to implement by December 2024.” - View the LTSS Trust Commission webpage here for more detail.
Washington State Representative Peter Abbarno (R), introduced legislation, HB 1011, to repeal the long-term care services and supports law that goes into effect in 2023. A separate bill was also introduced that would prohibit recertification of coverage for tax exemption (SB 5639). The deadline has passed for these bills to pass in 2023.
The Office of the State Actuary published an actuarial study of the WA Cares Fund on October 20th, 2022. The report indicates the fund is expected to be solvent through its first 75 years. The full report can be found here.