New payroll deduction coming for long-term care insurance trust

In 2019, the legislature created the state’s Long-Term Services and Support Trust, called Washington Cares, to address a growing need for long term care supports.  The program is funded by a payroll deduction of $0.58 per $100 starting January 1, 2022 and will provide benefits to workers who have paid in for ten years or for those have paid into the system in 3 of the last 6 years before needing the benefit.  The state benefits will be paid to qualifying individuals who reside in Washington when they need to rely on that benefit. There is a lifetime maximum benefit of $36,500 which will increase annually to keep pace with inflation. 

Some members are already privately covered through the NEA Member Benefits Long-Term Care Program or another private insurance option.   Those with an approved private Long Term Care insurance plan in place before November 1, 2021 may apply for an exemption from the state payroll deduction or coordinate the private benefits as a supplement to the WA Cares program.  If you decide to opt out of the state plan, you should know this is a permanent decision and cannot be changed even if you change employers. Ultimately, this will be a personal financial decision which may be influenced by your remaining years of work, rates and benefits of competing plans, and your retirement plans.  For those who decide to opt out of the state plan, the window to opt out runs October 1, 2021 through December 1, 2022, but members must show proof that their qualifying private long-term care insurance was purchased before Nov 1, 2021.  Once you opt out, re-joining the state’s program is not allowed.  

Long-Term Care Insurance webinar from June 16, 2021:

  • View the recording of the webinar here.
  • Slides from the WEA presentation at the webinar are available here
  • Benjamin Veghte's slides from the Washington Cares presentation on the webinar are available here.
  • Teresa Muench's slides from the NEA Member Benefits portion of the presentation are available here.
  • Answered questions from the webinar Q&A are here.