The Community Living Assistance Services and Support plan (CLASS), a long-term care insurance plan sponsored by the government and passed as part of President Obama’s health care law, faces some new challenges, some from the president’s own deficit commission, which has recommended repeal or reform of CLASS.
Critics have charged that CLASS is not financially sustainable and will pose a long-term threat to efforts to reduce the deficit. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has said that her department will address issues of sustainability as it works to finalize regulations ahead of the 2013 rollout of CLASS.
At present, 40 percent of LTC is provided by Medicaid, which generally requires beneficiaries to spend down assets to qualify. In contrast, CLASS would be offered mainly as an option in employer-sponsored benefit plans. After paying premiums during a five-year vesting period, CLASS would provide an LTC benefit of not less than $50 per day.