Benefits

WA Cares Fund FAQ

This page was updated October 8, 2021.

WA Cares Fund premiums

Who is charged the payroll deduction for the WA Cares Fund?
The deduction is collected only on the wages of individuals whose work is located in Washington state.

Are WA Cares Fund benefits available to Washington residents only?
Yes, in order to receive benefits, individuals must be 18 years of age or older and living in Washington state. Benefits will be available starting January 2025.

Is this a program for state employees only?
No. This is a program for all Washington state residents.

I plan on retiring in the next few years so I might not meet the requirements to qualify for benefits. Does the payroll deduction still apply to me?
Yes, the premium will be deducted even if you plan on retiring within the next few years and/or before you meet the requirements to qualify for benefits. To learn more about these requirements, visit the Employment Security Department’s Earning your benefits webpage.

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WA Cares Fund premium exemptions

Is there a way to be exempted from paying the premium and participating in the WA Cares Fund program?
You can apply to the Employment Security Department (ESD) for an individual premium exemption if you already have long-term care insurance. If your exemption is approved, once it takes effect you do not have to pay the WA Cares Fund premium and you will not be enrolled in the WA Cares Fund. Once you are exempt, you cannot re-enroll in the WA Cares Fund. If you change jobs, you will need to inform your new (non-UW) employer to ensure they don’t collect the premium. More information about exemptions is provided at the WA Cares Fund Private-insurance webpage.

How does the individual premium exemption process work?
Premiums will be deducted unless you purchase long-term care insurance prior to November 1, 2021 and apply for an individual premium exemption from the Employment Security Department (ESD) using https://wacaresfund.wa.gov/apply-for-an-exemption/. Applications will be accepted from October 1, 2021 through December 31, 2022. If approved by ESD, you must inform UW of your exemption.

How do I notify ISC-Payroll that ESD has approved my exemption from the WA Cares Fund?
First, you must have applied for a premium exemption from ESD and received from ESD a premium exemption approval letter. Second, notify UW of your premium exemption by completing this ISC-Payroll secure webform and attaching a copy of your premium exemption letter.

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Premium exemption effective dates

When does a premium exemption go into effect?
The premium exemption goes into effect the calendar quarter after your ESD premium exemption application is approved and only if you notify ISC-Payroll by completing this ISC-Payroll secure webform and attaching a copy of your premium exemption letter.

If you notify ISC-Payroll prior to the premium exemption effective date, payroll deductions will stop on the premium exemption effective date. If you notify ISC-Payroll after the premium effective date, payroll deductions will stop once you notify ISC-Payroll of your premium exemption.

  • Notify ISC-Payroll prior to exemption effective date: For example, if ESD approves a premium exemption between October 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021 it will have an effective date of January 1, 2022. If an employee notifies ISC-Payroll of the premium exemption and provides a copy of their ESD approval letter prior to January 1, 2022 the exemption will be in effect as of January 1, 2022.
  • Notify ISC-Payroll after exemption effective date: However, if ESD approves a premium exemption between October 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021 but an employee does not notify ISC-Payroll and does not provide a copy of their ESD approval letter until January 10, 2022 (after the effective date of January 1, 2022) nonrefundable premiums will be deducted until they notify ISC-Payroll.

Review the FAQs below for additional information on the WA Cares Fund premium exemption.

If I applied for a premium exemption but it is not approved before January 1, 2022 will WA Cares Fund premiums be collected from my paycheck?
Yes, WA Cares Fund premiums will be collected starting January 1, 2022. The premium exemption goes into effect the calendar quarter after your application is approved and only if you notify ISC-Payroll and provide a copy of your exemption approval letter.

If I applied for a premium exemption in one calendar quarter but ESD does not approve it until after the start of the next calendar quarter, when does the premium exemption go into effect?
The premium exemption goes into effect the calendar quarter after your application is approved and only if you notify ISC-Payroll and provide a copy of your exemption approval letter. For example, if ESD’s approval is in the first calendar quarter of 2022 (January 1, 2022 – March 31, 2022), your exemption would have an effective date of April 1, 2022. As long as you notify ISC-Payroll prior to April 1, 2022, payroll deductions will stop as of April 1, 2022. Otherwise, once the effective date passes premium deductions will continue until you notify ISC-Payroll and provide a copy of the exemption letter.

I notified ISC-Payroll and provided a copy of my exemption letter. The effective date of my exemption has passed but premiums are being collected from my paycheck. Can I get a refund?
If UW has made an error and collected premiums from your paycheck after the effective date of an exemption and you notified ISC-Payroll, incorrectly deducted premiums will be refunded.

I am a new UW employee with an exemption from the WA Cares Fund. When does the premium exemption go into effect?
New employees with an ESD approved premium exemption should notify ISC-Payroll and provide a copy of their exemption letter as part of new employee orientation. If the effective date of your exemption is a future date, premium collection will start on your first day of employment and continue until the effective date. If the effective date of your exemption has passed, the exemption will be in effect immediately and no premiums will be collected by UW once you notify ISC-Payroll and provide a copy of your exemption letter.

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Other insurance and exemptions

Will UW provide long-term care insurance for employees to purchase as an alternative to the WA Cares Fund?
As a Washington state public employer, UW is only authorized to provide the insurance benefits that are offered through the state of Washington Health Care Authority (HCA) and set by the Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB). Currently there are no long-term care insurances provided through either PEBB or the HCA that would be available to UW employees.

Does the long-term disability insurance (LTD) at UW count as long-term care insurance for the purpose of an exemption from the WA Cares Fund?
No, the LTD insurance available to UW employees is a separate type of insurance that is different from long-term care insurance. For this reason, LTD doesn’t meet the requirements for a premium exemption under the WA Cares Fund.

 

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