Long-Term Care Tax Update

Advocacy ,

Tax set to begin January 1: The state’s long-term care (LTC) tax of .58% is set to begin collections on January 1. Over 750,000 Washingtonians have opted out, having secured a private LTC plan before November 1. The program seeks to provide up to $36,500 in benefits to individuals needing long-term care, but many who pay into the fund will not be eligible to receive the benefit. Of those eligible for the tax but not for the benefits include out-of-state residents who work in Washington, employees near retirement who won’t vest, and Washingtonians who move out of state.

Senators ask for reprieve: The seven-member leadership team of the Washington Senate’s Democratic Caucus have requested Governor Inslee delay implementation of the tax until 2022. It’s unclear if the Governor will act or if legislators will act to reopen the opt out period next year. Learn more.

Opt out initiative gathering signatures: I -1436 would make the state’s program “Opt-in” instead of “opt-out,” essentially ending the program’s mandate. The Bellevue Chamber’s Policy Council recently voted in favor of I-1436, or a similar fix to be implemented by the legislature next session. The signature collection is underway but with petitions due by the end of the year, it is still unclear if the effort will collect the over 324,000 signatures necessary to qualify. You can download a petition here.

Lawsuit filed: A class-action lawsuit was filed last month to strike down the state’s LTC program, alleging that the Act is unenforceable as it violates ERISA and federal and state laws governing employee benefit plans. Learn more.