Payroll deductions to pay for care?

The cost of health insurance

TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: The Kaiser Family Foundation will hold a briefing today on what it calls the sleeper issue of the health-care overhaul: Bills in the House and Senate that would let you pay for long-term care through voluntary payroll deductions.

Marketplace's Nancy Marshall Genzer says the plan would shift some of the burden of paying for long-term care from the government to individuals.


Nancy Marshall Genzer The legislation is called the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act, or the CLASS Act. Workers would agree to a payroll deduction of a $123 per month. After contributing for five years, they could start drawing benefits.

Paul Van de Water is an economist with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. He says the legislation would help people better afford long-term care.

PAUL VAN DE WATER: You know give people a widely recognized, easier way of starting to make provision for their own future needs.

Kind of like Social Security, except it would be voluntary. And there's the rub.

JC SCOTT: People, frankly, are just not planning that far ahead.

JC Scott is a lobbyist for the insurance industry. He says it would be hard to get young, healthy people to participate. And Scott says the CLASS Act wouldn't pay for itself and would eventually be short hundreds of billions of dollars.

Economist Van de Water says premium hikes would keep the program solvent. Not a perfect plan, he says, but better than no plan at all.

In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.

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