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The CLASS (Community Living Assistance Services and Support) Act

A vast majority (89 percent) of Americans age 50 and over would prefer to live independently in their own homes and communities as long as they can, rather than relinquish control over their lives in a nursing facility. A new health care option, the Community Living Assistance Services and Support (CLASS) Act, will be available soon to help many Americans do just that.

Slated to begin near the end of 2012 or early 2013, CLASS will offer you the opportunity, if you are age 18 and over and are working, to enroll in a voluntary national insurance program that will provide you cash benefits if you have a qualifying disability (and you meet other eligibility criteria) limiting your day-to-day living.

CLASS will help pay for non-medical services and support that can help you live in your own home longer including home modification, transportation, assistive technology and personal care (such as help with eating, bathing and dressing). You can also use CLASS to pay part of the cost of assisted living or nursing home care. 

Under CLASS you would be required to pay a monthly premium. If your employer participates in the program, you will be automatically enrolled unless you choose not to participate. The premiums would be deducted through your payroll.

You are eligible to purchase this insurance:

• Whether or not your employer participates
• You are self-employed
• You have more than one employer  

After you have paid the premiums for at least five years, working at least three of those five years, have a qualifying disability and meet other eligibility requirements, you will be eligible for benefits. The cash benefits will continue as long as you remain eligible, which could be for your lifetime. There is no medical underwriting to participate in CLASS. Additional details, such as premium costs and the amount of cash benefits, will be provided as the program is implemented.

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