As Americans continue to grapple with the provisions of the new health care act, one new law, the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act (or CLASS Act), has received less media coverage than other aspects of reform. The CLASS Act provides for federal long term care insurance, which offers assistance with the tasks of daily living to the chronically ill or disabled.
Beginning in 2011, employees will be automatically enrolled in CLASS Act LTCI if their employers choose to participate. Monthly premiums will be deducted from employees’ paychecks unless they opt out of the program. Cash benefits, designed to help cover the cost of in-home care or institutional day care, would become available if the beneficiary became disabled. Beneficiaries would be required to pay premiums for five years and have worked for three of those five years before being eligible for benefits. Traditional LTCI, by comparison, has no such qualifying period.