CLASS Program – Obama Administration announces plans to halt work for now

On October 14, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released A Report on the Actuarial, Marketing, and Legal Analyses of the CLASS Program.  The report details the work of the Administration in preparation for implementation of the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Program, a national premium-based, long term supports insurance plan designed to assist people to meet their long term service needs without requiring them to become impoverished for Medicaid eligibility.  In his September 20th Actuarial Report on the Development of CLASS Benefit Plans, Bob Yee, CLASS Office Chief Actuary, concluded, “We believe the CLASS Benefit Plan can be designed to be a value proposition to the American workers as the CLASS Act prescribed it.  Much work remains to be done on plan development.  The ultimate size of its enrollment will depend on marketing efforts to produce wide public acceptance of the CLASS Program.”  Despite that conclusion by the actuary, Secretary Sebelius announced on October 14, that “despite our best analytical efforts, I do not see a viable path forward for CLASS implementation at this time.”  Other concerns, including legal and marketing concerns, played a role in the Secretary’s decision.  The Arc and other advocates of the CLASS Program will continue to work with Congress and the Administration to resolve the problems identified so that the program can move forward to address this critical area of unmet need.

In the meantime, the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittees on Health and on Oversight and Investigations will hold a joint hearing titled “CLASS [Community Living Assistance Service and Supports] Cancelled: An Unsustainable Program and Its Consequences for the Nation’s Deficit.” has scheduled for Wednesday morning.

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