Washington Governor Jay Inslee on January 27 signed two bills passed by the Legislature that delay and make some improvements to the Washington Cares Fund, a state-run long-term care insurance program.
HB 1732 delays the implementation of the WA Cares Fund for 18 months. HB 1733 creates new exemptions and opt-out options in the program for individuals who work in Washington but reside in other states. These bills also address issues concerning coverage gaps. Earlier in January, the Washington House Appropriations Committee convened a virtual public hearing, which included testimony by NAIFA-WA President Chris Wertenberger. He and nearly two dozen other activists made a strong case in support of HB 1732.
The Washington Cares Fund had already gone into effect as this legislation was being considered. Now, with the signing of HB 1732 into law, the program will begin in July 2023, giving lawmakers time to reconsider the fiscal impact of this program and other logistics. As of now, the WA Cares fund imposes a 0.58% payroll tax deduction on Washington state workers to fund the state-run program.
NAIFA will continue to work with NAIFA-WA, our coalition partners, and state legislators to encourage additional necessary changes to the Washington Cares Fund program.