The Washington state legislature passed the Long-Term Care Trust Act and Gov. Jay Inslee recently signed it into law, creating the “Washington Cares Fund.” The purpose of the new law, fund, and worker-funded tax is to help ensure the state’s aging population will have access to long-term care (LTC) services like lengthy hospital stays, assisted living, rehab facilities, and skilled nursing care if and when they need such services in the future.
If the idea of paying an additional, mandatory 0.58%, employee-funded payroll tax ($5.80 for every $1,000 of earnings) doesn’t sound appealing, there is good news. The WA Cares Fund includes provisions allowing workers to opt-out. To do so, you will need to purchase your own individual long-term care insurance policy no later than Oct. 31, 2021. That policy can be a standalone long-term care policy, or a life insurance policy or annuity with a long-term care rider. Regardless of its form, a private policy must provide for equal or better benefits than those available through the WA Cares Fund.