Before the enactment of the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act (CLASS Act), Americans were taught to plan their long term care with private insurance, retirement money, reverse mortgages, and annuities. All of a sudden, came long term care CLASS Act fashioned which aims to provide long term care (LTC) coverage for middle-class workers from age 18 onwards for a small monthly premium.
That was the selling point of CLASS Act and so it easily earned the trust of the uninsured and no doubt gave them hope. So when Health and Human Services (HSS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius dropped a bomb when she announced the cancellation of the Act because there is no “viable pathway forward for CLASS implementation at this time,” so many people especially those that belong to the age bracket nearing retirement were dumbfounded.
CLASS Act was the brainchild of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy whose goal was to give disabled Americans who cannot, or think they cannot, afford the standard LTCI policy’s premium a cheaper option.
Individuals who are interested in the CLASS Act are expected to enroll in the said program sometime in the first quarter of 2013 but after the surprising announcement of the HSS their only wish is for the government to come up with an alternative.
Their wish, however, cannot be realized for the time being because Congress is still in the process of reviewing the Act and while they’re at it they cannot possibly churn out a new health care law.
CLASS Act was designed to pay out a minimum daily benefit amount of $ 50 to members who would qualify for LTC after completion of the program’s five-year premium. Unfortunately, after careful assessment of the program, HHS revealed that it is attracting older citizens with a greater risk of requiring higher levels of care.
CLASS Act’s funds shall be solely dependent on the premiums it will collect. If the program will be paying out large amounts of benefits too soon while receiving only crumbs of premiums it will not be able to meet its objectives.
Long Term Care CLASS Act, Dead for Good?
Right now, Sec. Sebelius cannot say anything more about the CLASS Act except that it has been cancelled already. According to her the program has to be fiscally solvent for 75 years before it can be revived and offered to the public again.
Sebelius, however, said in one of her interviews that she and her department have recommitted themselves to the goal of ensuring Americans that they can get the long term care they need. Those words aim to bring back hope to everybody but relying too much on what the Secretary said could lead to complacency.
Rather than dwell on how their future health care would’ve turned out with CLASS Act, the public is advised to work on individual LTC plans that are tailored to their specific health care needs and budget. According to some LTC experts, long term care CLASS Act wise is tantamount to indefiniteness and this can lead to danger so it’s good that it closed down before it can create damage in the future.