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4 reasons for self-employed workers to opt into WA Cares

African American man working from home talking on phone and taking notes
January 30, 2024
If you’re self-employed, you can elect coverage and protect yourself with the same affordable benefits available to other Washington workers.

The WA Cares Fund is a new program that allows Washington workers to earn access to long-term care benefits later in life.

Here are 4 reasons you should opt-in:

 

  1. Most of us will need long-term care: 70% of Washingtonians will eventually need long-term services and supports – help with activities of daily living like bathing, eating, and taking medications. Long-term care can be expensive and most of us don’t have a way to pay for it. It’s not covered by Medicare or health insurance, and Medicaid only covers it after you’ve spent your life savings down to $2,000.
     
  2. Financial security: Unlike Medicaid, WA Cares doesn’t make you spend down your savings before coverage kicks in. By contributing a small percentage (0.58%) of your net earnings and gross wages to the fund while working, you earn a long-term care benefit you can use when you need care. Everyone contributes at the same low rate. To estimate your contribution, try our contribution calculator.
     
  3. Peace of mind: Being self-employed can put you at higher risk if something goes wrong, without employer-provided benefits and retirement accounts. Most of us will need help to live independently at some point in our lives. For some, this will be temporary after an accident or illness. For others, the need will strike late in life. Once you meet WA Cares contribution requirements and need care, you’ll be able to access up to $36,500 in long-term care benefits (lifetime benefit, adjusted for inflation).
     
  4. Choice: You decide how and where to use your benefits. WA Cares Fund gives you flexibility to choose whatever combination of covered services and supports best meets your care needs. WA Cares is designed to help you live independently in your home as long as possible. Benefits can be used for a wide range of services like in-home care, paying a family caregiver, home safety modifications, home-delivered meals, transportation and more. You can also use your benefit in a residential setting like a nursing home or assisted living.

    The benefit amount could cover around 20 hours of in-home care per week for a year, which is about the average used by current Medicaid clients. For some, the WA Cares benefit will cover all the care they need. For others, it will provide immediate relief from long-term care costs without spending down their savings, as well as time to plan for any future needs. For people with private long-term care insurance, WA Cares can help cover the benefit waiting period. After you elect coverage, you’ll start contributing to WA Cares the quarter after you elect coverage, and then submit your first report when that quarter ends. Your WA Cares contributions will continue until you retire. Learn more about elective coverage for self-employed people.
     

After you elect coverage, you’ll start contributing to WA Cares the quarter after you elect coverage, and then submit your first report when that quarter ends. Your WA Cares contributions will continue until you retire. Learn more about elective coverage for self-employed people.