On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the historic federal health care bill into law. The 2400 page bill is filled with complex provisions that are difficult to dissect. Certain provisions received national attention and were discussed daily on the evening news. For example, we all know that children will be able to remain on their parents’ health care plans until the age of 26, and we know that come 2014, people cannot be denied health coverage because of pre-existing conditions.
What many people do not know, however, is that buried deep within the legislative health care maze is a section that not even President Obama himself mentioned when he signed the health care legislation. The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act, better known as the CLASS Act, creates a voluntary program under which individuals pay a monthly premium and will be eligible for modest benefits for their long-term care needs after five years of paying premiums.
The CLASS program does not take effect until 2011 (realistically 2013), and therefore many of the details have yet to be defined. Over the next few years, the US Department of Health and Human Services will further develop the program. Until then, there exists some helpful information that can assist you, whether you are planning for long-term care or are currently receiving it.