2SHB 1087, a bill to create what may be the nation’s first long-term care insurance program passed the House with a 63-33 vote. According to testimony at the hearings, 7 out of 10 people over the age of 65 will need long-term case and 90% of those people have no savings to cover it. Legislators are concerned that our aging population will continue to add stress an overburdened and underfunded long-term care system.

Thus, this bill establishes the Long-Term Services and Supports Trust Program to provide benefits for long-term services and supports (as the name implies) to qualified individuals who need assistance with at least three activities of daily living. in 2025, a qualified individual may become an eligible beneficiary if the Department of Social and Health Services determines he or she needs help with at least three activities. Eligible beneficiaries will be subject to a lifetime maximum benefit.

Approved services include adult day services, in-home personal care, assisted living services, adult family home services, nursing home services, care transition coordination, dementia supports, home safety evaluation, adaptive equipment, respite for family caregivers, home-delivered meals, education, education and consultation, and more.

To be qualified, a person must have paid into the Trust Program for a specified minimum period of time.  Beginning in 2022, employees in Washington who work at least 10% of full time will be assessed a premium of .58% of their wages per year that will be paid to the Employment Security Department. For example, a person who earns $100,000 per year, the assessment would be $580. Self-employed persons may elect coverage under the Trust Program but employees will not be allowed to opt out.

Proponents of the bill say it will save Washington’s taxpayers $34 million by 2025 and $470 million by 2052. The Trust Program is projected to be solvent for 75 years.

The bill now advances to the Senate for additional hearings and action.

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Mellani McAleenan

Mellani joined WSAC as the Director of Government Relations and General Counsel. Mellani has worked in government relations since 2000, most recently as Director of Government Affairs for the Dental Association. Mellani has also represented the state judicial branch of government as the primary legislative advocate for the Board for Judicial Administration, Administrative Office of the Courts, and Supreme Court. Mellani earned her Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Seattle University and her BS in Human Services from Wayland Baptist University.