One thing you can say about the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act: It sure is a CLASS Act.
It’s part of Obamacare:
It is a self-funded and voluntary long-term care insurance choice. Workers will pay in premiums in order to receive a daily cash benefit if they develop a disability. … The benefit is flexible: it could be used for a range of community support services, from respite care to home care. No taxpayer funds will be used to pay benefits under this provision. The program will actually reduce Medicaid spending, as people are able to continue working and living in their homes and not enter nursing homes.
I guess it’s like Social Security: conjured as self-insurance, but really paying as you (we) go. And what of the “flexible” benefits? Marketplace Money reports:
The government basically gives you a check, which then you spend. And you can even actually hire a family member, which could be great for family members who don’t have to then choose between going to work and caring for a parent. Of course, at the same there’s a big potential for fraud. I should mention though that you can’t hire your spouse, because apparently the pledge to be there in sickness and health extends to long-term care.
Correction to the Marketplace story. I’m now told by several correspondents that this is not true, that the CLASS benefit is a cash payment, supposed to be about $50/day depending on the extent of disability, to be spent as you like. That’s good to hear. I had thought this was a case of: “it’s really wives’ who absolutely, positively, always must work for free.”
This makes most of this post unnecessary. So instead I’ll just give you a reference to some basic info on the act, and a recent article in Health Affairs on policy issues with long-term care coverage in general. I hope it’s helpful. And thanks to those who wrote correcting the story.