Long Term Care Tax — Coming to You Soon?

Flaws and all, Washington State’s plan to fund long-term care is getting a lot of attention around the country and other states are now developing similar programs. While the intentions are good, the execution of Washington’s plan is off to a very bad start.

Here’s what happened. A few sessions ago, the Washington Legislature — in its wisdom — passed a long term care tax. They called it WA Cares. It was very unpopular with the people and with businesses and Governor Jay Inslee — without any authority — canceled the tax.

Lots of complaining followed his unconstitutional action, but it stuck. The just finished Legislature was supposed to make some fixes. It didn’t make enough of them to satisfy many workers.

Businesses began collecting the tax on July 1st. It’s .58% of a total paycheck. As a reference, someone making $50,000 a year will pay $290 a year. To be eligible, a worker has to have worked at least 500 hours a year for three of the previous six years.

What has caused a lot of people consternation is how the tax is structured. If you live out of state and work in Washington and pay the tax, you cannot collect the benefit. Pay into the benefit for years on end, and move out of state, and the benefit cannot be collected.

Oh, and the maximum benefit is $36.500. Republican Rep. Jim Walsh said you can’t get much long-term care on that little money.

“The lifetime maximum benefit under WA Cares Act is not very much money,” Walsh said. “Anybody who has a family member in a nursing home knows that’s about two or three months of nursing home care at current prices. However you slice it, the $36,000 lifetime benefit is just not really long-term long-term care.”

And he pointed to what it costs in the Seattle area for long-term care. In-home services average $3,600 a month. That’s 10 months under the WA Cares plan. AARP says long term care at a private nursing home costs an average of $12,000 a month.

That’s about 3 months under Washington’s plan.

Source link: Insurance Business America — https://bit.ly/439rKpw

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