Press Release

Embargoed Until Contact

May 13, 2011
7:01 AM EST

Sue Ducat
Director of Communications
(301) 841-9962




Bethesda, MD -- A new Health Policy Brief from Health Affairs and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation looks at the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Plan, the voluntary, long-term care insurance provision of the Affordable Care Act. The program is designed to help people who need supports and services to manage basic "activities of daily living," such as bathing, dressing, or feeding themselves. By law, CLASS must be financially self-sustaining and not use federal tax dollars. However, the program as currently structured is not financially viable, and many policy makers have called for its repeal. The Obama administration has asked for the chance to fix it, and new proposals are expected in the coming months.


This policy brief examines the issues surrounding CLASS and options that policy makers may consider as they seek to make the program sustainable. The brief addresses why this program is needed; what's in the law; and what issues need to be resolved.


In addition, this policy brief details some options to give the program additional financial stability: changing the premium structure; lengthening the "vesting" period beyond the current five years; and incentivizing employers to participate by giving a one-time tax break during the program's first year. These and other options are likely to be reviewed in the next few months as officials prepare three plans and present them to the new CLASS Independence Advisory Council - and as Congress considers repeal bills that have been introduced in both the House and Senate.

About Health Affairs

Health Affairs, published by Project HOPE, is the leading journal of health policy. The peer-reviewed journal appears each month in print, with additional Web First papers published weekly at You can also find the journal on Facebook and Twitter and download Narrative Matters on iTunes. Address inquiries to Sue Ducat at (301) 841-9962 or