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WA Cares: In the News

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As a first-in-the-nation program, WA Cares has amassed a great deal of media interest. Read on for more coverage over the years.

In the news
When older people in the U.S. end up needing long-term care in a nursing home or from a home health aide, most have to pay out of pocket. The cost can be huge. This month Washington became the first state to try to address that problem with a public long-term care benefit funded through a payroll tax. From member station KUOW in Seattle, Eilis O'Neill has more.
As a family doctor, I know the need for care often comes without warning, at any age, often upending the lives of my patients and their families. A slip down the stairs, recovery from surgery, or a diagnosis of a progressively debilitating disease like multiple sclerosis can mean we need help dressing, bathing, getting around, and managing meals and medication. When this need for care is longer than a couple of weeks, it can be an enormous strain on our families.
In the first part of this series, I explained two ways in which the WA Cares Fund and private long-term care insurance (LTCI) are nearly identical. I also explained six ways in which the WA Cares Fund is significantly better than LTCI. However, for those who are healthy enough to qualify for long-term care insurance, here are 6 ways why that might trump opting for the WA Cares Fund.

Washington residents are in luck. The new Washington Cares Fund has the potential to close a major gap in long-term care funding for many residents. Our expert evaluates it and compares it to private long-term care insurance.
Unfortunately, the United States has not adequately tackled the problem of long-term care for the elderly. Medicare and health insurance don’t cover long-term care, and Medicaid’s long-term coverage only kicks in for those who’ve impoverished themselves by spending down their life savings to $2,000, Veghte said.
“And then you lose your economic independence when you’re on Medicaid,” he said. “That’s no one’s plan for retirement.” Private long-term care insurance is available, but costly.

As advocates for domestic workers, we understand the desire to put the pandemic behind us. But we would be wise to remember the vulnerabilities it revealed about our society. And we should celebrate progress we are making to address some of the risks the pandemic exposed — including our severe lack of caregiving infrastructure and resources for families.
Since he was a teen, the 41-year-old Seattle resident has often struggled with lupus, an autoimmune disease that can cause the body to attack tissue surrounding joints and organs, making everyday tasks like showering, cooking and commuting to his golf course restaurant job impossible. And due to his preexisting condition, Jones doesn't qualify for private long-term care insurance to help manage his disease when he is older and needs more assistance.

A federal judge has dismissed a class action lawsuit that was filed by opponents of a mandatory payroll premium to fund Washington’s recently delayed long-term care program.
"People are under this cloud of delusion that between your insurance and your retirement [income] you're going to be fine," she said. "They don't understand all the things that insurance doesn't cover."
The need for government-sponsored long-term care insurance has become increasingly obvious. The private long-term care insurance market is in retreat. Private policies are expensive and hard to find. Many people falsely believe that Medicare covers long-term care, but it doesn’t (except for a limited amount of time after hospitalization or acute illness). Nonetheless, a recent AARP survey indicates that 78% of voters think that Medicare pays for extended long-term care.
After controversy arose in recent months over the long-term care program, also known as WA Cares, lawmakers agreed to delay it so they could fix some concerns.
In the U.S., most people pay out of pocket for long-term care for older people or anyone with a chronic illness or disability. When the WA Cares Fund is implemented, it will be the first public long-term care insurance program of its kind.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said Friday that the state is delaying the start of a mandatory payroll tax to fund Washington state’s new long-term care program.
Lawmakers are hoping to act quickly in the 2022 legislative session to adjust the Long Term Care Act in a number of ways.
Many of us don’t think about or plan for long-term care until a crisis strikes or urgency forces our hand. Thankfully, a new benefit to help Washington families pay for care during a long-term illness, injury or disability is on the horizon.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee has signed into law the nation’s first public state-operated long-term care insurance program. The Long-Term Care Trust Act will pay benefits of up to $36,500 for those who need assistance with regular daily activities such as eating, bathing, or help with medications.
Washington is poised to become the first state to establish an employee-paid program creating an insurance benefit to help offset the costs of long-term care, a step advocates say will help an aging population that is likely not prepared for the increasing costs needed for daily assistance.

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