The future of the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports program came into question when its chief actuary resigned and its staff was reassigned in recent weeks (Best’s News Service, Sept. 23, 2011). Also, the Senate Appropriations Committee did not provide the program with any funding in a fiscal year 2012 spending plan advanced Sept. 21. On October 14, 2011, the CLASS Administrator, Kathy Greenlee, forwarded a memo to Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, with the recommendation to terminate the program. On the same date, Secretary Sebelius issued a letter to Congress October 14, 2011 that the Act is officially dead. Her letter referred readers to a 48-page report that shows the underlying actuarial reasons as to why this program is fiscally unsustainable, which many if not most of us in the long-term care insurance industry have understood since the program’s inception.
Deep breath. It’s over. The real solution to the long-term care crisis as I see it is to offer Long-Term Care Partnership plans through employers to employees and family members age 18+. Employees and sometimes spouses get a one-time opportunity to apply with limited health questions, so we can cover people FAST. Partnership plans are in most states already and I can tell you with firsthand experience that the security of the asset protection DOES make a difference in how consumers perceive long-term care insurance.