As we are all still facing a great deal of uncertainty in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it’s natural to be concerned about the future. For aging individuals and their loved ones, thinking about long-term care options can be especially challenging right now, as these facilities have been hit hard by the viral outbreak. In addition to health concerns, many individuals are facing economic difficulties and wondering how they will be able to afford long-term care. Let’s take a look back at the groundbreaking Long-Term Care Trust Act that Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed into law last spring and examine how it could help you and your loved ones build a more secure future, even in these unprecedented times.
An Overview of the New Law
The Long-Term Care Trust Act is the first public, state-operated long-term care insurance program in the nation. It intends to cover up to $36,500 in insurance benefits for Washington residents who require long-term assistance with vital tasks, such as bathing, eating, or taking medication. The funds will come from a mandatory 0.58 percent payroll tax on Washington employees. However it’s important to note that the tax will not be collected until January 2022, so the insurance benefits will not be available until 2025 at the earliest.
As with most other forms of insurance benefits, individuals must meet certain basic requirements before they become eligible to receive benefits. Coverage applies only to Washington residents who are over the age of 18. They must have paid the payroll tax for five consecutive years over a total span of ten years, or for three complete years of the past six years. Eligible employees must have worked at least 500 hours per year. Individuals who are self-employed are not required to participate, but they may if they so choose. This means that some populations, such as current retirees, children with disabilities, and adults who work less than ten hours per week will probably not meet the eligibility requirements.
A Bold Vision
While a slightly similar program was discussed in the 2010 Affordable Care Act, it was not formally implemented. The Long-Term Care Trust Act is the first of its kind, and other states are looking to Washington state to see whether it’s worth creating similar legislation in their areas. Though the program is still a few years away from becoming operational—and who knows how the COVID-19 pandemic may impact the rollout—many Washington residents are grateful that their state is taking concrete steps to support them into old age.
For more information about your options for long-term care in the Spokane Valley area, contact the knowledgeable long-term care and elder law attorneys at Legacy Law Group by calling (509) 315-8087 today.