What You Need to Know
- Starting in 2025, the WA Cares Fund program could provide up to $36,500 in long-term care benefits for eligible participants.
- Residents can avoid a 0.58% payroll tax by buying private LTCI coverage by Nov. 1.
- LTCI issuers have stopped taking applications for new private LTCI coverage in Washington state.
Washingston state policymakers tried to protect the private long-term care insurance (LTCI) market when they designed the new WA Cares Fund long-term care benefits program.
Instead, implementation of the program has crashed the state’s private LTCI market.
Most, and possibly all, of the companies that could sell stand-alone LTCI policies, or life insurance policies with long-term care riders, have stopped taking applications from Washington state residents, according to local press reports and the insurers’ own sales suspension notices.
Many insurers began pulling out of the state’s long-term care products market this past spring.
One of the last major sources of LTCI coverage in the state was Lincoln Financial’s MoneyGuard program, which combines a long-term care rider with life insurance. Lincoln announced earlier this month that it has stopped accepting MoneyGuard applications in Washington state.
“At this time, there is no set date for the future availability of Lincoln MoneyGuard products in Washington,” the company told agents in a notice. “However, we will continue to monitor the environment and assess next steps as the situation evolves.”
Acacia Insurance Services, which distributes stand-alone LTCI coverage and long-term care hybrid products, has posted a notice at the top of its long-term care products quotes page, in red, capital letters, stating that “***WE ARE NOT ACCEPTING QUOTE REQUESTS FOR WASHINGTON STATE.***
The WA Cares Fund Program
Washington state lawmakers set up the state’s WA Cares Fund program in response to concerns that about one-quarter of people will eventually need long-term care, and that many people end up depending on Medicaid nursing home benefits to pay for nursing home care.