Officials in Washington state say they’re continuing to set up a public long-term care insurance (LTCI) benefits programs for workers in the state, in spite of voter opposition to an LTCI program wage tax.
Washington state lawmakers approved H.B. 1087, a bill creating a state Long-Term Services and Supports Trust Act in April. Washington state gov. Jay Inslee, D, signed the bill into law in May.
One provision in the act adds a 0.58% wage tax to help fund the program.
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Act opponents succeeded at getting a nonbinding advisory measure on the tax on the state’s general election ballot.
Voters voted 37% to 63% against the nonbinding advisory measure.
That means the voters voted against the idea of paying a new tax on wages to pay for the new public LTCI benefits program.
Ballot Measure Impact
Some agents in Washington state have been asking: Will that advisory vote actually end up having some kind of effect on implementation of the state’s public LTCI program?
Officials who responded to queries from ThinkAdvisor said the ballot measure vote should have no effect on implementation of the public LTCI program.
A media representative for the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner said the measure was simply an advisory measure. “It changes nothing about what the Legislature approved,” the official said in an email.
A media representative for the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services had a similar reaction.
“I’m told the referendum does not affect the statutes, and implementation planning is proceeding as instructed by law,” the rep said.
The Washington state public LTCI program is supposed to start collecting premiums, in the form of the 0.58% wage tax, in 2022, and it’s supposed to start paying benefits for qualified beneficiaries in 2025.
The program would pay eligible claimants up to $36,500 in benefits in the first year.