New long-term care insurance program in Washington aims to give seniors more resources to age in place while tax base dwindles.
A recent Route-Fifty article outlined Washington’s plan to head off the Medicare shortfall that is projected as more and more boomers retire and need elder care services. To avoid the some of the premiums of private insurance, state officials have created an employee funded, long-term care insurance fund – the WA Cares Fund. The first of its kind fund will be overseen and administered by the Washington Department of Social and Health Services.
With a slowing birth rate across the U.S., tax revenue is projected to dwindle as the needs for services continues to grow.
“Families will be overwhelmed because they’ll have to choose between having a job and having their own economic security and retirement security, or caring for older family members. And that’s a choice that people really shouldn’t have to make,” said Ben Veghte, director of the WA Cares Fund, the state’s newly launched insurance program.
Not only do boomers account for 20 percent of the U.S. population, according to the report, but life expectancy has been increasing. This creates an even greater demand for costly services over longer periods of time. Previously on the Conduit Street blog similar concerns were raised by Maryland’s Secretary of Aging, Carmel Roques, during an event back in May.
States have increasingly been looking for ways to generate funds as the urgency builds. For the Washington plan, starting last month, employees in the state were automatically enrolled in the program, which collects 0.58% from each paycheck for a long-term care fund that enrollees can claim benefits from starting in July 2026. According to the article, the money is intended to go towards covering a range of services like home modifications, meal delivery, medical supplies, in-home aides, and even subsidies for family members providing care.