Which long-term-care insurance plans qualify for a payroll tax exemption?


Many people are writing me wondering what kind of long-term care insurance plans qualify to receive an exemption from a state payroll tax starting in January. Here's what the Washington state Office of the Insurance Commissioner said today in an advertisement of sorts for the state's new long-term care program: 

  • "We cannot determine if a long-term care policy meets the exemption criteria for the WA Cares Fund. If you already have a long-term care policy and you want to find out if it qualifies you for an exemption, you should contact your insurer. This includes military veterans and people who have an out-of-state long-term care policy. When the exemption period starts on Oct. 1, the state Employment Security Department will review applications and determine if policies qualify."

How not helpful. But it's true, a private insurer is likely to be able to help you more than the state is — not only with the types of plans that qualify but with more promising long-term care coverage.

On another spot of the Insurance Commissioner's website, labeled "types of insurance," is this definition of long-term care and the RCW 48.83.020 that the long-term care law points to: 

"Long-term care (LTC) insurance, according to Washington state law (leg.wa.gov), is an insurance policy, contract or rider that provides coverage for at least 12 consecutive months to an insured person if they experience a debilitating prolonged illness or disability."

If you want to seek more information and clarification, "Call us at 800-562-6900, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday - Friday," the office says on its site. As rules for the law are still being crafted by the Employment Security Department, I'd seek it out instead. I have received many answers from the agency's employees. 

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