Is the state of Washington Long-Term Care Trust Act universal long-term care?

by | Mar 21, 2019

UPDATE: The Washington Long-Term Care Trust Act was passed today, April 16th, in the Washington state senate. It will now proceed to the governor’s desk and be signed into law.

Washington state is very close to enacting the first, taxpayer-supported, long-term care plan. We, at LTCShop.com, supported the prior version of the legislation and we support the current version as well. But can the Washington Long-Term Care Trust Act be considered “universal long-term care”?

No, for several reasons:

The Long-Term Care Trust Act has a cap of $100 per day for only 365 days.

According to the 2018 cost of care survey conducted by Genworth (one of the largest long-term care insurers), $100 would pay for about 4 hours of home care here in the state of Washington. That’s better than nothing, but it’s only a small fraction of the expenses most families will incur when faced with the realities of caregiving. With a lifetime cap of only 365 days, this program has less than 1/5th the number of days of coverage available in the average long-term care insurance policy. (page 5, heading 1, first paragraph)

The Long-Term Care Trust Act will NOT cover those already retired.

The legislation requires an employee (or anyone self-employed) to pay the .58% payroll tax for 10 years before being fully vested into the program. Anyone who is already retired will receive NOTHING from this program.

The Long-Term Care Trust Act will NOT cover those close to retirement.

Anyone who plans on retiring within the next decade won’t be covered, even though they may pay this tax for nine years. The youngest Baby Boomers turn 55 this year. The Long-Term Care Trust Act will not cover most of the Baby Boom generation.

The Long-Term Care Trust Act will NOT cover those already disabled.

Again, due to the requirement to pay the payroll tax for 10 years, anyone who is already disabled and unable to work will not be covered by this program.

The Long-Term Care Trust Act will NOT cover stay-at-home parents.

The Long-Term Care Trust Act will not provide any benefits to those parents or grandparents who choose to stay home and raise children.

With all its shortcomings we do support the Washington Long-Term Care Trust Act for these reasons. It will:

  1. Slow the growth of Medicaid spending.
  2. Increase the funds available to the home care industry.
  3. Remind every employee, every pay period, that we all need to plan for long-term care.
  4. Not overlap with Washington’s Long-Term Care Partnership Program.

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