In every community across Washington, families are facing the challenge of accessing and affording long-term care when we need help with daily activities like getting around, dressing, bathing and making meals.
Here in Spokane County, we have a higher than average growth rate in our aging population. By 2030, more than 1 in 4 people in our area will be over 60. And the fact is, setbacks from unexpected injury, illness or disease can happen to us at any age.
A new report has great news for more than 65,000 workers in the Spokane area who will soon be building up WA Cares benefits. WA Cares is a new state benefit that will help us to stay in our own homes with paid home care when we have dementia, cancer, or other illnesses or injuries.
The new analysis comes from We Care For Cares, a coalition of consumer and patient advocates including AARP, Alzheimer’s Association, Lupus Foundation, Multiple Sclerosis Society, and Physicians for Social Responsibility.
In the Spokane area, WA Cares will directly benefit an estimated 65,380 workers, including:
* 55,450 younger workers (20-54)
* 9,930 older workers (55-64)
* 16,510 Black, Indigenous and workers of color
* 20,000 part-time workers
* 5,850 gig workers
Dani Rice of Asotin, Wash., shares, “I was partially paralyzed in a routine medical procedure. Like most families, we don’t have enough to pay for a home care aide if I ever need one. And we found out not even really good health insurance covers long term care. We saw how our grandparents had to drain their hard earned savings and sell all their assets to qualify for Medicaid.
Now thanks to WA Cares, we have more options. We both put in a little from our paychecks now, and WA Cares will pay for a home care aide, when we need one. So Sam can keep working, knowing I’m well cared for at home.”
WA Cares covers more than 51,000 people in our area under age 65 who likely have pre-existing conditions
Private long term care insurance companies frequently deny coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, like high blood pressure, diabetes or cancer.
Even if we can afford and qualify for a private long term care insurance policy ($2,000-$7,000/year), we must continue paying premiums even after retirement.
With WA Cares, we pay in just while we’re working, and the benefits are always there for us
WA Cares will provide $36,500 (grows with inflation) to help pay someone when we need help with tasks like dressing, bathing, making meals and getting around as a result of an injury, illness, disease or the normal challenges that can come with aging.
There are nearly 20,000 unpaid caregivers in our area
Frequently, women, and Black, Indigenous and people of color become unpaid family caregivers – those less likely to have enough savings to pay for care. When they leave their job to care for others, that drains household income and worsens the labor shortage.
WA Cares is good for jobs and our economy
A dollar in WA Cares spending on home repair, home care, or medical supplier generates another $1.50 in economic benefits and supports jobs in our communities.
Thanks to the hard work and support of our Representatives Timm Ormsby and Marcus Ricelli, and Senator Andy Billig, WA Cares will give us the choice of staying in our homes when we need care.
We Care For WA Cares is a coalition of consumer and patient advocates including AARP, Alzheimer’s Association, Lupus Foundation, Multiple Sclerosis Society, and Physicians for Social Responsibility.