No Changes for the WA LTC Cares Fund in 2023
It appears the Washington State Legislature will not be considering any new changes to the WA Cares Fund during its 2023 session. CLTC has learned that the Washington Legislature does not plan to consider any of the recommended changes during its current, 2023 session. Speculation is that state lawmakers do not want to make changes that could create confusion before the plan officially starts July 1, when the new state LTC payroll tax collections begin.
If the Legislature does not act on recommended changes this year, any updates to the first state-run LTC insurance program in the country would have to wait until 2024.
Last year, during its 2022 session, the Legislature delayed the start of the program for one year – until July 1, 2023, and requested that the Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) Trust Commission study several aspects of the program that were perceived as being significant problems for the fund. The Legislature wanted recommendations on portability for out-of-state beneficiaries, re-certification of qualifying LTC insurance coverage to maintain the tax exemption, and allowing those with a tax exemption to rescind their exemption and re-enter the payroll taxed program.
Of significant concern to the LTC insurance industry was the lack of a coverage re-certification requirement, potentially causing a massive cancellation of coverage due to no requirement by the state to maintain the coverage.
In a report delivered to the Legislature on January 1st, the LTSS Trust Commission strongly recommended a number of legislative changes to the WA Cares Fund law including a LTC insurance coverage re-certification requirement as well as other changes.
Scott Olson, CLTC®, co-founder of LTCShop.com based in Washington has closely followed the development of the WA Cares Fund since the concept was first introduced in 2017. Mr. Olson says, “There's no pressing need to pass recertification regulations this year. The Commission has clearly recommended recertification. The high probability of recertification legislation next year is enough guidance for agents and consumers to minimize unnecessary lapses.” CLTC recommends that agents encourage clients who have received a tax exemption not to let their coverage lapse.
The LTSS Trust Commission is charged with advising the Legislature and state regulators on the operation of the Cares Fund, and its recommendations now are expected to be part of the 2024 legislative agenda.