Repealing the unpopular long-term care insurance program and regressive payroll tax

How was the new long-term care insurance program and payroll tax established?

With no House Republican votes, the new long-term care insurance payroll tax was established by the passage of House Bill 1087 in the 2019 legislative session. House Bill 1087 created the Long-Term Care Services and Supports Program to provide individuals who have paid into the program for a specified period of time with a limited lifetime benefit (up to $36,500) to assist with future long-term care costs. To pay for the new program, the legislation created a new payroll tax – one of several tax increases passed by majority party Democrats since 2019.  More information on this program and tax can be found at wacaresfund.wa.gov.

What House Republicans believe

What happened in the 2022 legislative session?

In the 2022 legislative session, the Democrats and governor knew they had major problems with the unpopular program and tax. Instead of addressing these problems head on, they chose to “punt” on the issues until the 2023 legislative session. They passed two bills that were fast-tracked to the governor’s desk. House Bill 1732 delayed implementation of the program by 18 months and moved premium collections out to July 1, 2023. House Bill 1733 created four new voluntary exemptions from the program.

Eventually, workers in Washington state will pay $0.58 per $100 of their earnings to fund the program. Those who pay into the program will be eligible for a lifetime maximum benefit of $36,500. Estimate your payments here. However, these numbers could change depending on what is decided in the 2023 legislative session.

Washingtonians said they did not want this program and tax

In the November 2019 general election, 62.92% of Washington voters said House Bill 1087, which was designed to levy 0.58% tax on wages to fund a program for long-term healthcare services, should be repealed in Advisory Vote No. 20.

What is long-term care insurance?

According to the Office of the Insurance Commissioner’s website: “Long-term care insurance helps with many medical, personal and social services for people with prolonged illnesses or disabilities. It can include home health care, adult day care, nursing home care and group living facility care.”

Long-term care insurance is defined in RCW 48.83.020.

Note: The content of this web page should not be considered or construed as legal, financial or health care services advice from the House Republicans Caucus, including its members and staff. This content is meant to be informative, including the explanation of the legislation that created and changed the Long-Term Services and Supports Trust Program and how it impacts workers, retirees and employers in Washington state. This web page will be updated when new information on the Trust Program becomes available.