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CLASS Act - Long Term Care Receives Support At National Level

Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)
November 19, 2009

Long-term care is receiving attention on a national level!  Currently over 10 million people need long-term care services and supports, with an aging population this number is continuously growing.  Long-term care services and supports are essential to helping older American age in their homes and communities. While we at Health & Medicine’s Center for Long-Term Care Reform recognize the dire need for a long-term care system in Illinois, it is good to see some recognition of these issues at a federal level as well.  

The Community Living Assistance Services and Support (CLASS) Act is a bill “to amend the Public Health Service Act to help individuals with functional impairments and their families pay for services and supports that they need to maximize their functionality and independence and have choices about community participation, education, and employment, and for other purposes.”

The CLASS Act was introduced in both the House of Representatives (HR 1721) and the Senate (S 697), and is also included in the final health reform bill in the House, “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act (HR 3200).

The CLASS Act makes it more affordable and accessible for older adults and persons with disabilities who have long-term care needs to purchase care services helping them remain in their homes and communities.  

Key Points:

The CLASS Act would establish automatic enrollment of workers by employers in a national insurance program; workers may opt-out

  • Enrollment in the program consists of monthly premium deductions from payroll
  • Individuals must pay into the program for 5 years before claiming benefits

The CLASS Act insurance program benefits persons needing non-medical long-term care services and supports, with two or more activities of daily living

  • Activities of Daily Living include things like: eating, bathing, dressing, and transferring

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) concluded that the CLASS Act will not cost the government during the first 10 years

The CLASS Act also alleviates the burden of financing long-term care for Medicaid

  • A projected $2.5 billion will be saved in the first 10 years

The Kaiser Family Foundation does a great job explaining all the details. Check out their site  There “The Sleep in Health Care Reform: Long-Term Care and the CLASS Act” has a wealth of information.