Statement from Inslee, Billig and Jinkins on the postponement of the WA Cares Fund premium valuation

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Governor Jay Inslee, along with Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig and House Speaker Laurie Jinkins, released the following statements this morning on the postponement of the Washington Cares Fund’s premium valuation:

“I have had ongoing discussions with lawmakers over the long-term care bill, which is expected to start raising funds in January. This bill will help provide much-needed care and coverage to Washingtonians as they age. However, lawmakers have identified some areas that require adjustment and I agree. We need to give legislators the opportunity to make improvements to the bill. Therefore, I am taking action within my authority and ordering the State Department of Job Security not to collect bonuses for this program from employers until they expire in April. My actions mean that the state will not collect these funds until the legislature fixes these issues. While legislation is under consideration to suspend the withholding of LTC fees, employers will not be subject to penalties and interest for not withholding fees from employee wages during this transition. “- Gov. Jay Inslee

“The legislature passed the Long-Term Services and Supports Act, now known as the Washington Cares Fund, in 2019 to ensure Washington residents have a convenient and cost-effective long-term care option they can count on. without putting them into bankruptcy or denying their coverage for pre-existing conditions. The legislator has the option of delaying the assessment of the Cares Fund premiums this year in order to make improvements to the Fund during the legislative session of 2022 and we fully intend to do so. Suspending the program so that it can better serve disabled veterans, military spouses, non-residents and near-retirees will improve the program. A hiatus will also give the Long Term Care Commission the opportunity to study and make recommendations on residents leaving Washington to retire and ensure those who have opted out of the program maintain their policies. private insurance. These improvements will bring security and stability, now and in the future, to this essential safety net for the elderly and disabled in our state.

“Delaying the implementation of the Washington Cares Fund bonus assessment until the 2023 legislative session gives the legislature time to adopt the policy reforms that are ready to be implemented now and review other recommendations from the Long Term Care Commission.

“In addition to delaying the assessment of bonuses, we are also helping employers suspend collection of bonuses from employees in Washington so lawmakers can take the necessary action. While we cannot order employers not to collect, we strongly encourage them to suspend the collection of employee contributions, giving us time to pass legislation extending implementation dates until the next year. We know that this extra time will allow us to find solutions and develop Fund updates that will allow Washingtonians to age with dignity in their own homes. – Senator Andy Billig and President Laurie Jinkins.

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