Legislature passes measure to create long-term care program

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The Washington Legislature has approved a proposal for a new employee-funded program that would create a benefit to help offset long-term care costs.

The House concurred with changes made in the Senate on a 55-41 vote Tuesday and the measure now heads to Gov. Jay Inslee for his signature. The program would make Washington the first state in the nation with such a program.

Under the measure, premiums of 0.58 percent of wages would start being collected from employees on Jan. 1, 2022. Employers would not be required to pay into the program. Starting Jan. 1, 2025, people who need assistance with at least three “activities of daily living” such as bathing, dressing or administration of medication, could tap into the fund to help pay for things like in-home care, a wheelchair ramp or rides to the doctor.

The benefit’s lifetime maximum is $36,500 per person, indexed to inflation.