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Washington’s Long-Term Care Act: WA Cares Payroll Deductions start July 1

May 2, 2023

Back in 2021, we sent a big flurry of information about Washington’s long-term care act, WA Cares, how much employees will pay, what people will receive and how people could avoid the payroll deduction for premiums by requesting an exemption.

The Legislature then delayed the implementation date, but employers will need to start deducting premiums from their employees’ paychecks on July 1, 2023, unless they received an exemption. The following content has been provided by the WA Cares Fund.

Learn more about what to expect by reading these “Top 5 frequently asked questions about WA Cares.”

Washington’s Long-Term Care Act: WA Cares

The WA Cares Fund is a new program that gives qualified working Washingtonians access to long-term care coverage when they need it.

Workers contribute 0.58% of each paycheck while working, unless they received an exemption in 2021. The typical Washington worker earning just over $50,000 per year will contribute about $24 per month.

In return, eligible workers may receive up to $36,500 in lifetime long-term care insurance coverage (adjusted annually for inflation).

Employees can learn more about WA Cares and estimate their contribution amount on the WA Cares website.

Opting out

Those who had private long-term care insurance on or before Nov. 1, 2021, were able to apply for an exemption from the WA Cares Fund from Oct. 1, 2021, until Dec. 31, 2022. This opt-out provision is no longer available.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2023, Washington workers became eligible for exemptions from WA Cares if any of the following apply to them:

    • Live outside of Washington.
    • Are the spouse or registered domestic partner of an active-duty service member of the United States armed forces.
    • Have non-immigrant work visas.
    • Are veterans with a 70% service-connected disability rating or higher.

Workers will only qualify for these exemptions as long as these circumstances apply. Workers will no longer qualify for an exemption if:

    • They change their permanent residence to within Washington.
    • Their immigration status changes and they become a permanent resident.
    • Their spouse is separated from military service or the marriage/partnership is dissolved.

Exception: Veterans with a 70% service-connected disability rating or higher will receive a permanent exemption.

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