The WA Cares Fund, a program recently established by the state Legislature to create a long-term care insurance benefit for eligible workers, is set to go into effect Jan. 1, 2022, but people not interested in the service still have a chance to opt out before the end of the year.
According to the law, WA Cares premiums amount to 0.58% of a worker’s yearly earnings. For a person making $50,000 a year, that amounts to $290 in premiums collected through payroll deductions. Starting in January 2025, eligible workers can access services up to $36,500, including in-home care, equipment such as hearing devices, training for family members to provide in-home care, delivered meals, memory care, wheelchair ramps, transportation and other services.
The program was approved through House Bill 1087 in 2019. The bill was strongly opposed by Republican legislators.
A person can apply for exemption from the program if they purchase a new, private long-term care insurance policy this year.
If an exemption is granted, the choice is permanent. A person with an exemption cannot re-enroll and is permanently disqualified from the WA Cares benefits. People at least 18 years old can apply for a permanent exemption through the state Employment Security Department starting Oct. 1. ESD will accept applications through Dec. 31, 2022.
For more information about how to apply for exemption, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (833) 717-2273.