Schweitzer urges Inslee to end long-term care insurance benefit | Local

The founder and president of Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories wrote a letter to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee asking him to finish a brand new state-mandated insurance coverage program he believes is unfair to SEL’s workers dwelling in Washington and Idaho.

Edmund Schweitzer’s letter criticized the Long-Term Care Trust Act, which established a compulsory long-term care insurance coverage profit in 2019. The profit is named the WA Cares Fund and pays advantages of as a lot as $36,500 beginning in 2025.

To fund it, Washington workers will start paying payroll tax beginning Jan.1.

“I am urging you to use your authority to stop this Act before employees begin paying for something they don’t want, need, or may never see even if they did want it,” Schweitzer wrote to Inslee. “We’ve heard a lot from folks, nothing positive.”

The letter states that SEL’s human sources division has acquired greater than 400 emails from the corporate’s workers saying they don’t need this profit.

SEL, primarily based in Pullman, employs many Idaho residents who must pay into the fund though they can’t obtain its advantages, Schweitzer wrote.

“Many of our Washington based employee-owners are Idaho residents,” he wrote. “They would pay the tax, but not ever benefit from it. Unlike participants in a true, private insurance program, these employees will have their monthly premiums collected, then distributed by the state to others.”

Schweitzer stated Thursday that is taxation with out illustration for Idaho residents.

Employees can opt-out of this payroll deduction in the event that they buy their one long-term care insurance coverage coverage that’s accepted by the state. They have from Oct. 1-Oct. 31 to buy a qualifying personal long-term care insurance coverage plan and be completely excluded from WA Cares Fund advantages.

As Schweitzer identified in his letter, the state has not finalized the principles relating to which personal plans qualify.

Schweitzer stated SEL looked for insurance coverage carriers that could possibly be choices for SEL workers eager to opt-out, however solely one of many six insurance coverage firms SEL reached out to responded with a proposal.

He added that this proposal would have a cut-off age of 70, which suggests Schweitzer himself wouldn’t qualify for insurance coverage at age 73.

“So, then I’m still not sure what I’m going to do about it,” he stated. “But I am sure I’m not going to pay the tax. I will find a legal, ethical way not to pay it because I think it’s just so wrongheaded.”

Washington staff will initially pay $0.58 per each $100 of earnings. There is not any cap limiting the quantity workers pays in deductions and the quantity of the deduction might improve over time.

Schweitzer wrote in his letter that the state shouldn’t drive individuals to purchase a product. He stated the state is distorting the market.

“Forced participation in a state-mandated program is no substitute for individual choice and responsibility,” he wrote. “Some Washingtonians want long-term care insurance, and are free to choose to purchase it, in various plans offered by several providers, that best suit their personal situations. One size does not fit all! Others don’t want it or need it.”

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