You might not have heard much about it yet, but beginning at the first of the year, the state of Washington is mandating that all employees in the state be enrolled in a long-term care insurance program. Washington became the first state in the nation to mandate long-term care insurance when Governor Jay Inslee signed the Long-Term Services and Supports Trust Act into law back in April of 2019. The “WA Cares Fund”, as it is now known, imposes a new employee-paid premium of $0.58 per $100 of earnings and places limits on the benefits that an employee can receive. Although employers are responsible for collecting, remitting and reporting the premiums, there are no employer-paid portions of the premium. There are a couple of flies in the ointment however, as the voters in 2020 rejected a constitutional amendment that would have allowed WA Cares Funds to be invested in the stock market, with anticipated higher returns paying for the program benefits going forward. Additionally, voters are currently collecting signatures for a ballot initiative further amending the WA Cares Fund regulations by allowing workers to opt-in versus the current process which mandates their participation unless they opt-opt within the short window between October 1, 2021 and December 31, 2022. Despite that uncertainty, currently, as the November 1 deadline approaches, employees may opt out, but only if they have secured their own private long-term care by that date and apply for and receive an exemption by December 31, 2022. The exemption, if granted, is also a one-time exemption and employees who do opt out and receive an exemption, are exempt for life and cannot enter the WA Cares Fund at any time in the future. Obviously, there are many questions still to be answered about the WA Cares Fund, but I wonder whatever happened to the wise adage: “government that governs least, governs best??