The Obama administration abandoned its efforts to implement the CLASS Act, a long-term-care program outlined in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The program as conceived in the law would allow workers to pay a monthly premium for a number of years and then be eligible for a benefit to help pay for long-term care. The law stipulated that the program must be solvent for 75 years, which HHS determined wasn't feasible.
“Everything making this more sound moves us away from the legal risks of the program,” Assistant Secretary for Aging and CLASS Administrator Kathy Greenlee said in a call with reporters. The agency released a nearly 50-page report detailing the analysis, which HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius summarized in a blog post. “Over the last 19 months, we've examined the long-term-care market, modeled possible plan designs, and studied the CLASS statute, consulting at every step of the way with outside actuaries, insurers and consumer groups,” Sebelius wrote.
“When it became clear that most basic benefit plans wouldn't work, we looked at other possibilities. Recognizing the enormous need in this country for better long-term-care insurance options, we cast as wide a net as possible in searching for a model that could succeed. But as a report our department is releasing today shows, we have not identified a way to make CLASS work at this time.”