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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

We never thought we’d need WA Cares: We were wrong

Sam Rice Sponsored content provided by WA Long Term Care Options

My wife Dani went in for a routine medical procedure when she was 30 years old. Dani came out of the hospital with permanent paralysis on the left side of her body, and will use a wheelchair the rest of her life. Our son was just two.

When you are young, you can’t imagine needing help with basic tasks, like dressing, bathing, making meals, getting around. Dani became a professional caregiver when she was only 19. We never thought she’d be the one who may need a caregiver someday.

If I had to quit my job to become a caregiver for Dani, we’d have to sell our house and our savings would be non-existent.

I don’t know how we’d make it financially. With Dani’s ongoing medical needs, we’ve realized that even really good health insurance doesn’t cover long term care. And we’ve seen how Dani’s grandparents had to drain their hard-earned savings and sell all their assets to qualify for Medicaid.

Good thing there’s WA Cares

We were thrilled to learn that Washington created the WA Cares Fund, a safety net to help working families like ours cover the costs of care needed due to an injury, illness, disease or the normal limitations that come as we age.

We’ll be able to tap into our WA Cares Funds to pay for care at home.

Beginning next year, we will contribute through a payroll deduction of 58 cents for each $100 earned (about $290 for workers earning $50,000 a year). Fully vested Washingtonians are eligible to receive $36,500 (which will rise with inflation rates) in benefits. We can tap into these funds to cover a broad range of services, including paying family caregivers, hiring home care aides, making home modifications or purchasing medical equipment.

Private long term care insurance excludes pre-existing conditions

The reality is private long term care insurance ($2,000-$7,000 annually) is something only the wealthy can afford, if they can even get a policy. Long term care insurance companies will deny anyone with a pre-existing condition - like diabetes, cancer, or high blood pressure -  and they charge ever increasing premiums even after you retire and live on a fixed income.

WA Cares will be there when we need it

Fortunately, Dani and I, and other hard-working Washingtonians, will have an option our grandparents didn’t have — WA Cares, a guaranteed fund that will be there when we need it, so we can stay in our home as long as possible.

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