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Washington’s Long-Term Care Mandate: How Selerix Can Help 

Selerix Leadership

July 1, 2024

The Washington long-term care mandate, also known as the WA Cares Fund, has ushered in a new era of long-term care support for State of Washington residents. While the program offers potential benefits for employees facing future long-term care needs, it also presents a new layer of administrative complexity for businesses operating in the state. Let’s dive deeper into the WA Cares Fund, explore the potential pain points for businesses, and how Selerix benefits solutions can navigate these challenges. 

Understanding the WA Cares Fund 

The WA Cares Fund began collecting payroll deductions in 2023. These deductions, capped at 0.58% of wages, are used to fund benefits for eligible Washington residents who require long-term care services. The program offers financial assistance with daily living activities in various settings, including home care, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes. 

The Impact on Businesses: Compliance and Administrative Challenges 

The introduction of the WA Cares Fund presents several considerations for businesses operating in Washington: 

  • Data Management and Reporting: Businesses need robust systems to track employee opt-out status and generate accurate reports for payroll purposes. This necessitates maintaining meticulous records and ensuring data integrity across different systems. 
  • Employee Communication: Effectively communicating program details and opt-out procedures to employees is crucial for a smooth rollout and ongoing compliance. Confusion or misunderstandings around the program can lead to employee frustration and potential legal ramifications for employers. 
  • Managing Refunds: A New Administrative Hurdle: Since 2022, employers have been responsible for managing refunds to Long-Term Care contributions deducted from employee paychecks in cases where employees qualify for exemptions. This adds a new layer of administrative complexity, especially considering that most enrollments for benefits (including core benefits) may happen through a separate system from the one used for WA Cares Fund deductions. 

Beyond the Basics: Complexities and Considerations 

Beyond the core administrative challenges, the WA Cares Fund introduces additional complexities for businesses to navigate: 

  • Remote Work and Multi-State Scenarios: The program’s applicability to remote employees who reside and work in different states can be a source of confusion. In these scenarios, businesses may require legal counsel to determine how the WA Cares Fund applies and ensure compliance with both Washington state regulations and the regulations of the employee’s resident state. 
  • Program Changes and Communication Management: The WA Cares Fund is a relatively new program, and its rules and regulations may undergo changes over time. Businesses need to be proactive in staying abreast of any program updates and effectively communicating these changes to their employees. This necessitates a robust communication strategy to keep employees informed and ensure accurate understanding of their rights and obligations. 

Selerix: Your Trusted Partner for WA Cares Fund Administration 

Selerix, a leading benefits enrollment and administration platform, offers a comprehensive solution to help businesses navigate the WA Cares Fund. With its combination of powerful technology and benefits expertise, Selerix can streamline your experience and address the various challenges associated with the program: 

  • Streamlined Enrollment for All Benefits: Selerix simplifies enrollment for all benefits, including complex life insurance with Long-Term Care riders. Its intuitive platform makes the process efficient for both employees and HR teams, reducing the potential for errors and saving valuable time. 
  • Clear and Targeted Employee Communication: Selerix’s workforce communications platform, Engage, enables targeted messaging about the WA Cares Fund to employees. This fosters employee understanding of the program’s details, opt-out procedures, and potential benefits, leading to a smoother program rollout and ongoing compliance. 
  • Seamless Payroll Integration: Selerix integrates with numerous payroll providers, ensuring real-time updates for WA Cares Fund deductions, including refund processing. This minimizes manual work and reduces the risk of errors in payroll calculations. 
  • Expertise in Complex Scenarios: Selerix’s tenured team of benefits administration specialists is prepared to provide guidance and counsel throughout even the most complex scenarios. 

The WA Cares Fund presents both opportunities and challenges for Washington businesses. Selerix, with its expertise in enrollment, data management, communication, and integration, can be your trusted partner in ensuring a smooth implementation of the program. By leveraging Selerix’s capabilities, you can effectively manage the WA Cares Fund and empower your employees to navigate their long-term care options. Contact Selerix today to learn more. 

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