Long-Term Care Insurance
New Payroll Tax for Long-Term Care
A new state law establishes a state-operated public insurance program called WA Cares. WA Cares to pay for Long-Term Care (LTC) services. Beginning in 2022, all W-2 employees will pay a new payroll tax on their wages to fund WA Cares.
Permanent Exemption from Payroll Tax
There is a one-time opportunity to apply for a permanent exemption for employees who have qualifying alternative LTC coverage in place by November 1, 2021. If approved, employee will not required to pay premiums and will be permanently excluded from WA Care benefits. Employees may never re-enroll. Learn more about qualifying plans on the Office of the Insurance Commissioner’s website.
Highline is offering an alternative LTC insurance plan through Trustmark. This voluntary benefit is available to permanent employees who work 30+ hours per week, or permanent employees who work 20+ hours per week and have been employed for at least 90 days.
If you have purchased your own LTC plan prior to November 1, 2021, you may submit an application for exemption through the state Employment Security Department (ESD) between October 1, 2021 through December 31, 2022.
If your application is approved, you will receive an exemption approval letter from ESD. You must present your exemption approval letter to all current and future employers. If you fail to present your ESD approval letter, employers will withhold non-refundable WA Cares premiums.
We will share instructions on how to file for an exemption closer to October 1, 2021.
- September 1-15: Highline Public Schools LTC Open Enrollment
- October 1, 2021-December 31, 2022: Exemption Application Window
- November 1, 2021: Must have LTC plan in place to apply for opt‐out.
- January 1, 2022: Employers must begin collecting premiums from employees’ paychecks.
- January 1, 2025: Eligible individuals can start receiving benefits.