Under the new health care law, you can participate in a voluntary national insurance program called CLASS, which stands for Community Living Assistance Services and Supports.
If you have a qualifying disability that limits your day-to-day living abilities, CLASS insurance can help you pay for nonmedical services and supports such as home modification, assistive technology, transportation and personal care. CLASS benefits can also be used to pay for assisted living or nursing home care.
How the CLASS Program Works
• If you are age 18 or older, employed, and your employer participates in the program, you will be enrolled in CLASS automatically unless you "opt out" by choosing not to participate. Your premiums will be paid through payroll deductions.
• If your employer doesn't participate in the CLASS program, or if you are self-employed or have more than one employer, you will be able to purchase this insurance on your own.
• Once you have paid the premiums for at least five years, have worked at least three of those initial five years, have a qualifying disability, and meet other eligibility requirements, you will be eligible for benefits.
• Cash benefits will be paid if you have a qualifying disability that your health care provider certifies is expected to last for more than 90 days. You will receive payments for as long as you remain eligible, which depending upon your disability could be for your lifetime.
• CLASS program enrollments will likely begin in 2012 or 2013. Federal officials will provide additional details, such as premium costs and the amount of cash benefits, as the new insurance program is implemented.
• Participating in CLASS increases your options to live more independently if you have or develop a qualifying disability and meet the other eligibility requirements.
• You can use the CLASS program's cash benefit, along with assistance from other public and private programs, your personal savings, care from family and friends, and private long-term care insurance, to help protect your financial security.