CLASS Act – New Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Plan

President Obama signed into law comprehensive healthcare reform legislation that contains a program known as the Community Living Assistance Services and Supporters Act (CLASS Act).

The passage of CLASS does not negate the need for private long-term care coverage in any way. Many of the details regarding the CLASS program are not yet defined and will be developed through Government regulation. The following is designed to address what is known currently and to answer the most common questions being asked.

What are the general provisions of the CLASS Act?

The most of the important details for the CLASS program have not (yet) been defined. They will be developed by the Department of Health and Human Services over the next few years.

But, simply stated, CLASS creates a new voluntary government program under which participants will pay a monthly premium and will be eligible for modest benefits for their long-term care needs after five years of paying premiums.

While CLASS is often characterized as a long-term care program, it is primarily designed as a program to provide future assistance to the working disabled. Traditional long-term care insurance requires that applicants meet certain good-health requirements. CLASS will not have such health qualification requirements. The plan will be available on a guaranteed-issue basis.

When will the CLASS Act begin?

While provisions of the CLASS Act become effective in 2011, there are so many details to be worked out that most experts don’t expect the plan will become available until 2013.

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