Monday deadline to opt-out WA’s long-term care tax

Monday is the deadline to have your private long-term care insurance plan in place in order to opt out of Washington’s new payroll tax.

However, the controversial program has been a source of frustration for a lot of people hoping to opt out.

“It is a bad law to start with,” said Heidi Hagen.

Hagen spoke to KIRO 7′s Jesse Jones a few weeks ago about her concerns with the state’s long-term care tax.

But like it or not, on Jan. 1, the payroll tax to fund the brand new WA Cares Fund is happening.

“It just gives families the ability to stay in their own homes as they age or when they need long-term care rather than have to go to a facility,” Ben Veghte, with WA Cares Fund, said.

The tax is .58 cents per hundred dollars earned and it is meant to provide a $36,500 lifetime benefit.

Opting out of the program has been controversial and far from smooth because the opt-out website has crashed several times.

For those who were in the market, many private insurance companies stopped selling them because they were worried people would buy them and then cancel them, to avoid the tax.

KIRO 7 spoke to an insurance agent who said he saw a 10-fold increase from the year before.

Two other agents said they stopped underwriting plans 60 days ago.

So, if you have not bought a plan yet, you are unfortunately out of luck if you want to opt out of the state’s program.

“This is difficult,” Jesse Jones said to Hagen earlier this month. “Yeah. Cause there is a need for something to be done to help people in long-term care. Is this the answer? No,” she replied.