The difficulties that lie ahead for the CLASS Act

Howard Gleckman, author of “Caring for Our Parents” does a superb job of explaining the difficulties facing the CLASS Act program (Community Living Assistance Services and Support Act).  In order for the CLASS Act program to be successful, the federal government will have to balance a lot of competing interests.

The Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) needs to try to maximize enrollment in order to keep the program solvent because taxpayer dollars cannot be used to pay any of the claims made by the participants (enrollees).

It is a voluntary program.  Every employee (or self-employed person) can choose to opt-out of the CLASS Act program.  Therefore, if premiums are too high, not enough healthy employees will enroll in the program–they will simply opt-out.  If premiums are too low, it will become insolvent because the only people who will participate will be those with severe disabilities and chronic illnesses.

Although the CLASS Act program “became effective” on January 1, 2011, they have only begun to hire staff and set up the offices in the Administration on Aging.  The exact benefits and premiums will probably not be determined by the Secretary of HHS until October 2012.  Enrollment for the CLASS Act program will probably begin in the first or second quarter of 2013.

Here is a link to Howard Gleckman’s superb eight-minute interview with the Urban Institute:


About Scott A. Olson

Scott A. Olson, is the author of “The Guidebook for Making Long-Term Care Insurance Easier.” He is a licensed insurance agent and has specialized in long-term care insurance since 1995. He is licensed to sell long-term care insurance in over 40 states. Scott was born and raised in New Jersey and attended Rutgers University. Scott was a caregiver for a close relative for two years. That personal experience has made him acutely aware of how to help his clients design and choose a long-term care policy that will benefit them when they need it the most. Scott and his wife Carolyn live in Redlands, California. Scott and Carolyn have four sons.