April 10, 2019 Long-term care planning can help ensure you get the level and quality of care you need in the event of a chronic condition. As well as, an unexpected injury, or a sudden illness that leaves you unable to provide for yourself. While long-term care insurance, purchased privately or through an employer, can help offset some of these costs; not everyone obtains this type of coverage. A bill was recently passed by the state House of Representatives that would make Washington the first in the nation to offer publicly funded long term care insurance to residents. Universal Long-Term Care Insurance In Washington In early March 2019, House Republicans approved a measure to offer universal long-term care insurance coverage as a public benefit for workers throughout the state. The Long-Term Care Trust Act would provide up to $36,500 for those who suffer impairments. Including medical conditions that prevent them from performing at least three activities of daily living (ADL). Such as eating, bathing, or dressing themselves. Long-term care insurance would be publicly funded through payroll taxes amounting to roughly 0.58 percent of each worker’s wages. Collection on the taxes would begin in 2022, with benefit payment beginning in 2025. To be eligible for the coverage; residents would need to have worked at least part-time for a minimum of five consecutive years over the previous decade. A companion bill is currently pending in the Democratically-controlled Senate. However, no vote is currently scheduled. Advocates claim universal long-term care insurance serves an important need. Although the amount offered is unlikely to match the actual costs that residents incur. The recent Cost of Care Study conducted by Genworth Financial shows that Washington leads the nation with average costs for long term care totalling close to $10,000 per month. “While public long-term care insurance may be a step in the right direction, it is important for people to still do their own long-term care planning,” says Lynnwood attorney William S. Hickman of Hickman Menashe, P.S.