Stronger Families. Stronger Communities. Stronger Washington

More than nine months since Washington state workers started paying into the state-mandated long-term care insurance program, most working Washingtonians have contributed at least a few hundred dollars to the program.

But if voters approve Initiative 2124 this November to repeal the program known as WA Cares, workers can opt out of having 58 cents out of every $100 earned deducted from their paychecks. 

WA Cares opponents argue the maximum $36,500 benefit, not available until July 2026, is not adequate and may give someone a false sense of security about future long-term care needs.

Others have complained about the benefit not being transferable in cases where a Washingtonian who has paid into the program moves out of state.

The “frequently asked questions” section addresses the portability issue: “Washington is the first state in the nation to develop a way to make long-term care affordable for all workers as we age. The benefit is only usable within Washington because all providers have to be contracted with the state and each state has different laws on what makes someone qualified to provide long-term care.” 

Rep. Peter Abbarno, R-Centralia, offered legislation during the 2024 legislative session to address some of the concerns, but he contends multiple bills weren’t given a public hearing by the Democrats who control the Legislature.

“I had a bill to repeal the long-term care program, and I had a number of different bills to change the program in other ways, but none of them got hearings,” he said.

He then pivoted to I-2124.

READ MORE in the Daily Chronicle

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