Friday, October 22, 2010
Among the many features of the 2010 health care legislation is a new entitlement program to fund long-term care called Community Living Assistance Services and Supports, or CLASS. Beginning possibly as early as January 2011, employees of participating employers will be automatically enrolled in CLASS’s payroll-reduction plan and will become eligible for benefits after five years of continuous enrollment. These benefits will be calibrated by an enrollee’s degree of impairment and may be applied to the full range of long-term care services, from paying relatives for family-provided care and modifying a personal residence to funding adult day care, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes. These benefits are provided as long as the recipient qualifies for them, without any limit as to duration or total dollars expended. This article examines the CLASS program and compares its various features to currently available long-term care insurance policies, focusing on benefit eligibility, enrollment procedures, scope of benefits, ease of acquisition, program solvency, premium stability, and other programmatic features as well.