The CLASS Act (Community Living Assistance Services and Support Act) is a voluntary, federally administered, consumer-financed insurance plan which became law as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.  The Class Act was designed provide a cash daily payment for disabled workers participating in the program.  The program was voluntary for both employers and employees.  It provided a way for interested workers to pay premiums to ensure cash benefit should they become disabled at a later time.   On October 14, 2011 HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced in a letter to congressional leaders that the Administration “does not see a viable path forward to CLASS implementation at this time.”  Congressional hearings have been scheduled on repeal of the CLASS Act.

According to the HHS report, only 2.8 percent of Americans have private long-term care insurance, although about 70 percent of people age 65 and older will need such care. The current market does not offer viable options for those unable to access private long-term care insurance. The CLASS program, developed by the late Senator Ted Kennedy, was intended to address this problem by creating a new national insurance program financed by voluntary payroll deductions to provide benefits to adults who become severely functionally impaired. The intent was to help to preserve the Medicaid program, which currently bears the brunt of covering long-term supports and services and cannot sustain an aging baby boomer generation.

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