- Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act
Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act Full title Title VIII of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Acronym CLASS Act Enacted by the 111th United States Congress Effective March 23, 2010 Citations Codification
- Introduced in the House as the "Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009" (H.R. 3590) by Charles Rangel (D–NY) on September 17, 2009
- Committee consideration by: Ways and Means
- Passed the House on October 8, 2009 (416–0)
- Passed the Senate as the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" on December 24, 2009 (60–39) with amendment
- House agreed to Senate amendment on March 21, 2010 (219–212)
- Signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010
Major amendments Relevant Supreme Court cases None
The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act (or CLASS Act) is a U.S. federal law, enacted as Title VIII of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA - aka "Obamacare"). The CLASS Act would have created a voluntary and public long-term care insurance option for employees, but in October 2011 the Obama administration announced it was unworkable and would be dropped.
Most of the terms were to be developed by the Department of Health and Human Services over several years. However, certain terms were set in statute:
- Enrollees would have paid a monthly premium, through payroll deduction
- Enrollees would have been covered on a guaranteed-issue basis
- Enrollees would have been eligible for benefits after paying premiums for five years and having worked at least three of those years
- Enrollees would have received a lifetime cash benefit after meeting benefit eligibility criteria, based on the degree of impairment 
Timeline for provisions
- June 21, 2010: Required the Secretary to establish a Personal Care Attendants Workforce Academy Advisory Panel for the purpose of examining and advising the Secretary and Congress on workforce issues related to personal care attendants
- By January 1, 2011: Established the CLASS Program, as specified
- By January 1, 2011: Addressed infrastructure for personal care attendant workers
- By January 1, 2011: Required information on supplemental coverage from the CLASS program in the National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information
- By January 1, 2012: Would have required the Secretary to (1) establish an Eligibility Assessment System (2) enter into agreements with the Protection and Advocacy System for each state; and (3) enter into agreements with public and private entities to provide advice and assistance counseling.
- By October 1, 2012: Would have required the Secretary to designate a benefit plan as the CLASS Independence Benefit Plan and publish such designation, along with details of the plan and the reasons for the Secretary’s selection, in a final rule to allow for a public comment period.
- Beginning January 1, 2014: Would have required the Secretary to submit an annual report to Congress on the CLASS program, as specified.
Goals of the legislation
Expanded availability of long-term care
According to Barbara Manard, a health economist with LeadingAge, the act would have created "a national insurance trust" with a potential "daily cash benefit on the order of about $50 to $75 a day, depending on your level of disability."
Reduce government spending
The Congressional Budget Office estimated the program would have resulted in $2 Billion in Medicaid savings in the first ten years because of individuals receiving benefits under the CLASS Act that they could have received under Medicaid.
Premium rates were to be determined by the Department of Health and Human Services with subsidies for low-income individuals and students. Premium rates would have varied by issue age. The CLASS program contained an implicit redistribution tax to subsidize lower income and full-time student participants.
The legislation did not set specific benefits. The Secretary of Health and Human Services was tasked with developing actuarially sound premiums and benefits.
Many organizations, including the Congressional Budget Office, developed estimates of potential premiums and benefits:
Analyst Average Daily Benefit Estimated Monthly Premium ACLI $90/day $140/month CBO (June 25, 2009) $75/day $65/month for initial decade, rising to $100/$110 for subsequent cohorts CBO (July 6, 2009) $75/day $65/month for initial decade; after 2019, benefits dropped to $50/day and premiums for new enrollees raised to $85/month AAA/SOA $75/day $125/month Mercer Group About $75/day [2-3 ADLs = $50/day; 4+ ADLs= $100/day] $61/month to $123/month, depending on participation rate and disability trends ACLI $50/day $107/month to $117/month AAA/SOA $50/day $86/month 0
Benefits would have varied by severity of functional limitation, with the average being at least $50 per day. The benefit schedule could have been adjusted in future years by the Secretary.
Employers would have auto-enrolled employees through payroll deduction, a negative election similar to some 401(k) plans.
Participation would have been limited to employees actively at work, and required a five-year vesting period (including three working years) prior to benefit eligibility.
The CLASS program did not extend coverage to an employee’s family members. It was not clear how non-working spouses could enroll in the program or receive benefits due to the requirement that the beneficiary must have had sufficient earnings to be credited with income quarters under the Social Security Act.
The statute says, "No taxpayer funds shall be used for payment of benefits under a CLASS Independent Benefit Plan... the term ‘taxpayer funds’ means any Federal funds from a source other than premiums.... and any associated interest earnings."
Administrative expenses, including advocacy and assistance counseling, were to be limited to three percent of premiums.
On April 4, 2011 senators John Thune and Lindsey Graham introduced the Repeal the CLASS Entitlement Act citing the potential of it becoming a new entitlement program. It was predicted that enrollees requiring large medical payouts would be attracted to the plan, leading to the inability of the collected premiums to cover all costs.
On July 19, 2011 the Senate so-called Gang of Six, a bipartisan group of senators proposed to repeal the CLASS act as part of a proposal for a balanced budget legislation
Abandoned by Obama Administration
On October 14, 2011, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that the Obama Administration would not attempt to implement the C.L.A.S.S. Act stating “I do not see a viable path forward for Class implementation at this time.”
Republican opponents of the plan called it "a financial gimmick" to manipulate the Congressional Budget Office deficit projections for the PPACA, while Democratic Senator Kent Conrad called it a "Ponzi scheme," because (a) projected premiums during the vesting period were counted as revenue during the first decade but promised spending would have begun in the second decade, so the CBO's 10-year estimates included the revenue but not the spending, and (b) benefits would cost more than premiums.
Timothy Carney of the Washington Examiner wrote that the Act would have encouraged revolving door behavior, calling the Act "an 'unsustainable' subsidy to companies whose former executives helped write it, and which are now hiring the congressional staff that helped write it."
- ^ Span, Paula (March 29, 2010). "Options Expand for Affordable Long-Term Care". nytimes.com. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/30/health/30care.html. Retrieved March 29, 2010.
- ^ a b c d e f g h PriceWaterHouseCoopers. “The CLASS Act.” HRS Insight: Human Resource Services. 2010: 1-6. Web.
- ^ a b Carney, Timothy (2011-02-28) So, yeah, the health-care bill was really an awful piece of legislation that sent the revolving door spinning faster, Washington Examiner
- ^ http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/14/politics/health-care-program/
- ^ a b “Health Care Reform and LTC: CLASS Provisions.” LTC Newslink 1681. 2010: 1-5. Print.
- ^ http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/14/politics/health-care-program/
- ^ (Press release). Department of Health and Human Services. 14 October 2011. http://www.hhs.gov/secretary/letter10142011.html. Retrieved 16 October 2011. O'Connor, Meghan (16 October 2011). "HHS Halts Implementation of the CLASS Program". National Law Review (von Briesen & Roper, S.C.). http://www.natlawreview.com/article/hhs-halts-implementation-class-program. Retrieved 16 October 2011.
- ^ http://news.firedoglake.com/2011/10/14/obama-administration-nixes-the-class-act/
- ^ "Ted Kennedy's Class Act Another Obstacle in Getting to 60 Votes". The American Spectator. December 17, 2008. http://spectator.org/blog/2009/12/17/ted-kennedys-class-act-another. Retrieved March 29, 2010.
- ^ Janemarie Mulvey and Kirsten J. Colello. “Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).” Congressional Research Service. 2010: 14. Print.
- ^ a b "Kennedy's CLASS Act Would Establish National Long Term Care Insurance". kaiserhealthnews.org. June 23, 2009. http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Daily-Reports/2009/July/23/Long-term-care.aspx. Retrieved March 29, 2010.
- ^ The CLASS Act Plan: Solvent for the Long Term, American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA)
- ^ CLASS Insurance Plan Myths and Facts, American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA)
- ^ H.R. 3590 Public Print, section 3208(b).
- ^ H.R. 3590 Public Print, section 3208(a).
- ^ "Senators Thune and Graham Introduce Bill to Repeal CLASS Act". thune.senate.gov. April 4, 2011. http://thune.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressReleases.Detail&PressRelease_id=e9cc3cda-7695-430f-bc60-151a78fcf2fd&Month=4&Year=2011. Retrieved April 5, 2011.
- ^ 'Gang of Six' Proposed Debt Reduction Deal
- ^ "U.S. Won’t Start Long-Term Care Insurance". Bloomberg. October 14, 2011. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-10-14/u-s-won-t-start-class-long-term-care-insurance-sebelius-says.html.
- ^ http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-10-14/u-s-won-t-start-class-long-term-care-insurance-sebelius-says.html
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