(The Center Square) – The Long Term Services and Supports Trust Commission examines two options regarding portability with respect to WA Cares, the state’s mandatory long-term care program.

A 5.8% payroll tax on workers was supposed to take effect in early January, but that plan was partly derailed by lawmakers concerned that people paying into the program would not be eligible to receive benefits. , including a lawsuit brought by Washington workers who live out of state and have no intention of retiring to Evergreen State.

Earlier this year, the state legislature passed a bill delaying the implementation of the embattled WA Cares long-term care program until July 1, 2023. Inslee sign legislation into law.

Both options were presented by a portability working group during the committee’s virtual meeting on Tuesday morning Meet.

Option 1 would allow anyone with at least one year of eligible coverage who leaves the state to select portable benefits coverage by electing to continue contributing to WA Cares until normal retirement age under Social Security, which is currently 67 for people born in 1960 or later.

Option 2 would provide dramatically reduced benefits to anyone who paid in 10 years and then left the state.

Ben Veghte, director of the WA Cares Fund for the state Department of Health and Human Services, said the benefits of Option 1 include comparatively reduced administrative costs and maintaining contact with recipients.

The downside of Option 1, he noted, is that not everyone would have permanent access to benefits.

“So everyone who paid would get something,” Veghte said of the main benefit of Option 2.

Negative side: the cost.

“It can be difficult to communicate this approach to the public because in order for it to be done in a cost-effective way, the pro-rated benefit pro-rating formula would need to be less generous than the pro-rating formula we use for near-retirees,” explained Vegetable.

Option 1 modeling has been done, he said.

“So this issue continues to be discussed in the working group,” Veghte said. “We are awaiting the modeling of Option 2. Our task force has not yet made a decision on which option it will recommend to the commission in November.”

The decisions made by the commission could have ramifications beyond washington.

“Many states establishing similar programs are looking to the Washington model, and after exploring the complexity of providing WA Cares Fund benefits to people leaving the state, the task force recommends that the benefits be returned wearables from 2030,” Andrea Sanchez, program manager/fund unit WA Cares, said.

She added, “This is the only option that would not pose a significant risk to the implementation of benefits for in-state residents by July 1, 2026. Only a small number of workers will have earned benefits. WA Cares and will need long term care. state before 2030. And by making benefits available in 2030, the state has enough time to develop reliable systems and processes that work well for beneficiaries and also minimize the risk of fraud.

These comments were echoed by committee member Madeleine Foutch, a union representative for long-term care workers, who noted that “good portability is extremely important and designing a solution that allows for portability, a significant advantage and an accessible advantage is incredibly complex. ”

Veghte expressed his confidence that the state is up to the task.

“It’s incredibly complex, but I wanted to keep an optimistic tone that it’s doable,” he said. “It’s just that we do it with due diligence.”