Want to opt out of Washington’s long-term care program?

The state of Washington has opened their online opt-out procedure for those who want to apply for an exemption to the new state-mandated long-term care program, called the WA Cares Fund, and associated payroll deduction that begins in January 2022.

If you have private long-term care insurance in place by Nov. 1, 2021, and you wish to opt out of the state program, you can apply to the Employment Security Department (ESD) for a permanent exemption from the program. Those applications became available Oct. 1 and will be accepted through Dec. 31, 2022.

Steps for opting out

  1. Purchase qualifying private long-term care insurance before Nov. 1, 2021.
  2. Apply for an exemption on the WA Cares Fund website.
  3. Once approved by ESD, provide a copy of your approval letter to your King County agency human resources (HR) professional. ESD will not notify employers.
  4. Agency HR will work to get mandatory deduction turned off. You are not entitled to a refund of premiums taken before you notified King County.
  5. Your exemption will take effect on the first day of the following quarter. Until then, the deduction will continue to be taken out of your paycheck.

Program summary

Please refer to the June 8 Employee News article for information about the WA Cares Fund. A summary is provided below:

  • Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, all employers must collect $0.58 per $100 of earnings from employees through a payroll deduction and send the money to the Employment Security Department.
  • Beginning January 2025, eligible participants can access the WA Cares Fund benefit of up to $100 per day, with a lifetime benefit of $36,500, for a range of long-term care services and supports. For more information, go to WA Cares Benefits and Earning Your Benefits.

More information

The WA Cares Fund is administered by the ESD and the Department of Social and Health Services. King County does not administer any part of the program beyond collecting premiums via payroll deduction and reporting employee pay and hours to ESD.

For more information about the program, go to the WA Cares Fund website or email wacaresfund@dshs.wa.gov. The state is also offering live webinar sessions where you can get questions answered and has Frequently Asked Questions posted at Learn More. In addition, see the WA Cares Fund webpage for King County employees and FAQ.