One of the biggest criticisms of the controversial WA Cares long-term care insurance plan was that recipients could not utilize if it they moved out of state. Now that has likely changed.

   Legislature approves bill allowing out-of-state use

The State House approved House Bill (HB) 2467, which would allow people using the program to continue to utilize funding if they move out of state. Previously, if you moved, the coverage did not follow you.  The House Bill would allow people who move out of state to continue to pay into the program.

Aside from criticism of the maximum benefit of just over $36,000, this was one of the biggest flaws, said critics.

A bill is moving through the Senate that would allow what is called portability, it is Senate Bill (SB) 6072. It would allow out-of-state use.

The WA Cares plan passed in 2019, went into effect in 2023 with the tax kicking off in July.  All Washington workers pay a 0.58 percent payroll tax to fund the program, which is slated to begin offering the benefits in 2026.

However, this November, voters will decide yes or no on Initiative 2124 which would allow anyone at any time to opt out. The original opt-out window was very brief, and many citizens did not act in time to get their own long-term care insurance so they would be exempt from the program.

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Critics say the plan is flawed, and underfunded, and many WA residents will never be able to utilize it. Supporters say if I-2124 passes, it will effectively render the program useless due to insolvency.  Opponents of these latest moves by the legislature claim it's a ploy to try to persuade voters to vote against I-2124 by fixing the out-of-state issue.

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Gallery Credit: Liz Barrett Foster

 

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