Two Benefits of CLASS Act Come With a Caution Sign

Posted on April 23rd, 2010 by Em-Power Services

Have you read anything about the CLASS Act yet? CLASS stands for Community Living Assistance Services and Support and it’s a Ted Kennedy legacy program that slid into healthcare reform with little notice. It’s a voluntary government run long-term care insurance program that will require a decision from employers whether or not to participate. Where employers do participate, their employees will automatically have premiums deducted form their pay checks unless they specifically opt-out.

When does CLASS become effective?
Not later than October 1st, 2012, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human services, taking into consideration the recommendation of the CLASS Independence Advisory Council will select the final benefit to be provided out of three benefits presented to meet the requirements defined in the statute. Following that date a period for public comment will be provided making a kick off date in 2013 probable.

What is long-term care?
Long-term care is help people need due to accidents or illness that can happen at any age. It is referred to as custodial care and it includes help with dressing, eating, bathing, toileting, continence or just moving around. By definition, long-term care is not intended to make you get well again and it is specifically excluded from traditional health insurance or Medicare when you reach age 65. This care can be very expensive and without insurance protection tens of thousands of Americans have become impoverished.

What’s good about CLASS?

  • Brings attention to the problem:
    Possibly the most important benefit of the CLASS Act is that it finally brings long-term care to the front page of newspapers and the national news. For too long, far too many families with resources to purchase insurance protection have had their lives shattered when a loved one needed long-term care and they didn’t own insurance. Most people don’t understand the consequences that come with needing long-term care until it is too late and they never learned about affordable planning options when they were young.
  • Allows everyone to receive a nominal benefit regardless of health problems:
    The other primary benefit of CLASS is to guarantee every citizen the opportunity to purchase a nominal long-term care insurance policy regardless of pre-existing medical conditions. Unlike private insurance with medical underwriting that excludes high risk individuals to control premiums, government provided coverage will accept virtually every citizen.

So what is the caution sign for?
Government run long-term care insurance stems from noble intentions and it does in fact provide some important benefits to a segment of society, but these benefits come at a price. Stay tuned for information every employer, employee and benefit specialist needs to understand before making decisions on long-term care protection and the CLASS Act.

EM-Power is a unique brokerage in that we:

  1. Work with employers to show them why adding LTC as a employee benefit is a win-win opportunity; and
  2. Work with brokers to teach them how to better educate their clients about LTC to create a win-win opportunity.,

If you are an employer needing help or a broker looking to help your clients with Long Term Care reach out and contact Doug Ross at 800-483-1115

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