Starting January 1, 2022, employees who work in the state of Washington will pay a mandatory 0.58% payroll tax on all W-2 income with no cap. This tax will fund a state-run long-term care insurance program which can provide up to a maximum of $36,500 of long-term care benefits for care provided in the state. This equates to a daily benefit of $100 per day for one year. There is a provision to increase the benefit. However, benefit increases will track with the Washington CPI. The tax will increase as income increases since there is no cap to the tax.
To be eligible for benefits, employees must have paid into the system for three years within the past six years or for a total of 10 years with at least five of those years paid without interruption. Benefits can only be received if you reside in Washington state.
Opt Out Option
Employees can opt out of this tax permanently if a) they own their own long-term care insurance policy, and b) if they can attest that the plan provides benefits equal to or better than the state program. The long-term care insurance must be in place by November 1, 2021. This attestation must be submitted to the state’s Employment Security Department between October 1, 2021 and December 31, 2022.
Who Should Consider a Private LTC Policy?
Arguably, there are three groups of employees who may benefit from considering a private long-term care insurance policy:
- Employees who earn $300,000 or more in annual compensation. Most employees in this income bracket can find a policy that is more cost effective than the payroll tax.
- Employees who plan to move out of the state of Washington when they retire because they will forfeit the benefit.
- Employees who plan to retire in the next few years since they will not have vested benefits through the state.
If you have employees in Washington and would like to consider a long-term care benefit, provide a resource for employees, or explore an executive carve-out, please reach out to your Vita Account Manager. We will do an assessment to confirm the best options and course of action.