The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) program establishes a national voluntary long-term care insurance program for the purchase of non-medical services and support necessary for enrollees who have paid premiums into the program and become eligible (due to disability or chronic illnesses). Enrollees would receive benefits that help pay for assistance in the home or in a facility in future years. Enrollment begins January 1, 2011 (targeting working adults who can make voluntary premium contributions through payroll deductions or directly). The first benefits will be paid out to enrollees in 2016.
This program was designed to provide long term care insurance for people who would need assistance at home. In November 2009, before the Obama health law was enacted, the Congressional Budget Office warned Congress that CLASS would add ‘tens of billions of dollars’ to the federal deficit within 30 years. But in the first ten years, it would collect premiums and have to pay out for a little, amassing cash. In oother words, it looked paid for in the first decade, but would turn into a deficit exploder later. In the fall of 2011, the Secretary of Health and Human Services conceded it was financially unsustainable and would be mothballed. You won’t be hearing much more about the CLASS program, except for demands to repeal it.