The WA Cares Act long-term insurance care program is about a year away from collecting revenue to fund the program, and it's already in the hole.

   New study shows benefits may have to be cut, or taxes increased already

The CARES Act was passed by the legislature hurriedly and found to be so flawed even its creators and sponsors agreed to a delay to allow it to be revised.

Long-term care insurance are benefits utilized by an older person who may need help paying for services (mostly in home) such as eating, preparing meals, bathing, exercise or other tasks. There are various types of plans. According to

"This includes nursing care, physical, occupational or speech therapy and help with day to day activities. A long-term care insurance policy pays for the cost of care due to a chronic illness, a disability, or injury."

However, one of the drawbacks is if you buy it and pay premiums for years, and remain healthy and independent, you have 'wasted' money on something you don't need.

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WA Policy Center, by way of David Boze and author Elizabeth Hovde, have listed some bullet points from their new breakdown of the CARES Act plan:

  • "The WA Cares program is insolvent before it begins, facing a $15 billion shortfall.
  • Between 2022-2053, workers will pay more than $30 billion for the state to realize net savings of just over $1.2 billion, assuming administrative costs don't increase.
  • The lifetime benefit of $36,500 is highly unlikely to provide for most people's needs, making the state's promises of fiancial security and "peace of mind" both false and dangerous.
  • There is already legislative discussion that the 58-cent tax will need to increase or the benefit amount of $36,500 decrease to keep the program viable."

And, there's another catch. While most long-term care programs require two disabling conditions, the CARES Act has stiffer criteria. Again, from the WA Policy Center:

  • "Private long-term-care plans typically start paying out when an elderly person needs help with two daily-life activities, while the state program will require a person to need help with at least three."

There has been more attention paid to long-term care insurance as the American population lives longer, and more people are paying attention to their needs when they retire or become senior citizens. However, the WA Policy Center says the CARES Act in its present form is not the answer.


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