The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) program, which was enacted as part of PPACA, is a federally-administered long-term care insurance program.
The CLASS Act program is not yet operational. PPACA provides that the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) has until October 1, 2012 to designate the benefit plan options that will be available under the CLASS program. On March 9, HHS issued a series of frequently asked questions (FAQs) related to the CLASS Act program (http://www.aoa.gov/AoAroot/CLASS/FAQ/index.aspx). The FAQs state that enrollment will not take place until the benefit plan options are announced by HHS.
Once the program is available, enrollment will be voluntary and will be available to most working adults age 18 or older, without regard to pre-existing medical conditions. The FAQs state that CLASS Act enrollees will have to meet certain requirements regarding functional limitation, earn wages for a certain amount of time after enrollment, pay premiums for at least 60 months, and comply with certain other premium payment requirements. The FAQs state that details regarding these requirements will be announced by HHS by October 1, 2012.
Eligible working adults will be able to voluntarily enroll in the program either directly or through their employer. The FAQs state that employers will not be required to offer CLASS Act participation to employees and may decide whether to offer the CLASS automatic enrollment process. Employees of employers that offer the automatic enrollment process will be able to opt out of program participation. Employees of employers that do not offer the CLASS Act program and self-employed individuals may enroll in the program individually as long as they satisfy the eligibility requirements.
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Christy Tinnes is a Principal in the Health & Welfare Group of Groom Law Group in Washington, D.C. She is involved in all aspects of health and welfare plans, including ERISA, HIPAA portability, HIPAA privacy, COBRA, and Medicare. She represents employers designing health plans as well as insurers designing new products. Most recently, she has been extensively involved in the insurance market reform and employer mandate provisions of the health-care reform legislation.
Brigen Winters is a Principal at Groom Law Group, Chartered, where he co-chairs the firm’s Policy and Legislation group. He counsels plan sponsors, insurers, and other financial institutions regarding health and welfare, executive compensation, and tax-qualified arrangements, and advises clients on legislative and regulatory matters, with a particular focus on the recently enacted health-reform legislation.
PLEASE NOTE: This feature is intended to provide general information only, does not constitute legal advice, and cannot be used or substituted for legal or tax advice.