Private long-term care insurance all but impossible to get ahead of new state tax

Sep 9, 2021, 2:14 PM | Updated: Sep 13, 2021, 4:57 pm
nursing homes, coronavirus, long-term care insurance...
Kirkland's Life Care Center nursing home. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Hoping to get a private long-term care insurance policy so you don’t have to pay the WA Cares tax? You’re likely going to be out of luck.

“There are 12 companies [in the state] that can sell long-term care stand-alone policies, and 22 can sell riders, and we’re finding that none of the companies are writing new business right now,” said Kara Klotz, communications manager for the state Office of the Insurance Commissioner.

The tax, which starts in January, will collect 0.58% of people’s income to go toward long-term care benefits. A person who has paid into the tax for 10 years can collect up to $36,500 in benefits if they are still living in Washington state.

Washingtonians create petition against long-term care tax

Residents have one opportunity to permanently opt out of the tax this autumn. To get the one-time opt-out chance for the new tax, people need to have their own long-term care policy in place through a private insurance company by Nov. 1.

However, the insurance companies have wised up to the fact that some people are planning to get insurance for only a year, long enough to forever get out of paying the tax.

“A lot of insurers are expecting people to buy a policy and then drop it, and that’s not good for their business,” Klotz said.

She explained that while the Insurance Commissioner’s Office can regulate insurance companies to the extent of making sure they are following state law, it cannot, in a free market, persuade privately-run companies to sell a certain type of insurance.

“We’ve heard from thousands of consumers who are really frustrated,” Klotz said. “We totally understand why they’re frustrated, but we’re in a tough spot, because we don’t really have the authority to help people either way. … That’s just not our role, to compel them to sell something that’s not financially viable.”

She advised people to not give up, and to keep calling around to see if they can find someone willing to take on a new client before the Nov. 1 deadline.

“Call the companies that are authorized to sell and see if you can find one, … talk with your employer, some employers are offering plans like that,” she said. “I know that’s not what people are hoping to hear, but that’s kind of the reality.”

To learn more about if your long-term care insurance plan qualifies as an exemption to the tax, visit the Office of the Insurance Commissioner’s website.

Follow Nicole Jennings on Twitter or email her here

Local News

KIRO 7 News Staff

Police: Two in custody after hit-and-run suspect rams patrol car; officer fires shots

Two people were taken into custody after a driver suspected of a hit-and-run rammed an officer’s patrol vehicle, resulting in the officer firing shots at the car Saturday night in Medina.
10 hours ago
Seattle library...
MyNorthwest Staff

Last of Seattle Public Library branch closures from pandemic comes to an end

Seattle has reopened its NewHolly library branch, meaning that for the first time since the start of the pandemic, all 27 of the city's branches are now up and running.
1 day ago
KIRO 7 News Staff

2 people shot in Seattle; suspect surrenders to police after SWAT negotiation

A suspect surrendered to police Saturday afternoon after two people were shot in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District, the Seattle Police Department said.
1 day ago
MyNorthwest Staff

New rules for visitors to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle

Starting Tuesday, visitors to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle must show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or proof of a negative test within three days of visiting.
1 day ago
seattle police...
Stephanie Klein

Seattle police patrolling lower West Seattle Bridge after reports of covered plates

Seattle police say they are conducting enforcement at the lower West Seattle Bridge after it was discovered that drivers have been obscured their license plates to avoid traffic cameras.
1 day ago
Interim Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz, unvaccinated officers, seattle police...
Stephanie Klein

Seattle Police Chief asks officers to submit vaccine paperwork

As the Oct. 18 deadline to prove COVID-19 vaccination or risk losing a job looms, Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz sent a heartfelt memo to officers letting them know he doesn't want to lose them.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles


How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Courtesy of JWatch Photography....
Experience Anacortes

Summer Fun Activities in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Private long-term care insurance all but impossible to get ahead of new state tax