Business and labor support long-term care opt-out extension

Apr 15, 2021
Written by Rose Gundersen, VP of Operations & Retail Services

Agreements among business, public employee and labor groups are rare, but it happened in a letter sent to the House requesting concurrence with the Senate’s amendments for HB 1033! In fact, over forty private, public and labor organizations joined in the letter.

Amendments passed in the Senate under HB 1033 have two key components to the state’s new long-term care payroll deduction mandate scheduled to start 1/1/2022.

  • Extends workers opt-out deadline to November 1, 2021 instead of the July 28, 2021 in the bill.
  • Requires the newly established Washington State Long-Term Services and Supports Trust (LTSST) to work with insurers to develop supplemental long-term care insurance products because the state program only offers a $36,500 life-time benefit with no portability.

When the Legislature established the LTSST under 2SHB 1087 in 2019, opt-out was available permanently, but the Legislature continued to close the opt out window as reported in a prior article in our newsletter.

According to the January 2021 LTSST Recommendations Report, continuous adjustments need to be made to keep the program solvent despite multiple investments in actuarial research by a national actuarial firm since 2015 and forward. Perhaps, the program passed in 2019 lacked the broad stakeholders at the table to ensure buy-in like the process and agreement reached in establishing the Paid Family and Medical Leave program.

The coalition of organizations is pleased to see the House concurring with the Senate amendments yesterday. Now we can look forward to improving buy-ins and stakeholdering that would actually strengthen the long-term care program.