CLASS: The Community Living Assistance Services and Support ProgramNote: On October 14, 2011, Secretary Sebelius announced the suspension of the CLASS program.
This voluntary program, included in the Affordable Care Act, was intended to address the current lack of long-term care planning or financing by most Americans. Once a person was enrolled and vested, if they became disabled and needed assistance with activities of daily living, they would be eligible for at least $50 per day to pay for supportive services, including hiring friends or family, paying for in-home support, etc. The program was housed in the Administration on Aging where program staff tried to design the program within the parameters of the law while also ensuring the program would remain self-sustaining. FCA has collected some of the most relevant research and reports about the program below. Note: The resources are listed in chronological order.
Lead Organization Administration on Aging
Date March 23, 2010 (date Affordable Care Act was enacted)
1) Bringing CLASS to Long-Term Care Through the Affordable Care Act (August 2010)
This special edition of Public Policy & Aging Report explains the creation of CLASS, key provisions in the program, and expected hurdles for implementation.
2) Financing Long-Term Care After Health Care Reform (October 2010)
3) Running Out Of Time, Money, And Independence? Health Affairs (January 2011)
This report explains the need for long-term care, current financing mechanisms, and differences between long-term care insurance and CLASS program.
Michael Ogg, a retired professor with primary progressive multiple sclerosis, explains the need for a program like CLASS to finance long-term care while also ensuring consumer direction.
4) Congressional Research Service (Jan 2011) Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)
This report provides estimates of monthly premiums, how CLASS benefits would interact with other long-term care programs like Medicaid, and timeline for program implementation.
5) Kaiser Family Foundation Briefing on Long-term Care (February 2011) Speech by Secretary Sebelius
In this speech Secretary Sebelius discusses possible changes to ensure sustainability of the program.
6) What is 'Class'? And Will it Work? Center for Retirement Research (February 2011)
This research brief outlines the program, challenges to making it self-sustaining, and estimates the amount of monthly premiums based on three scenarios.
7) Hearing on The Implementation and Sustainability of the New, Government-Administered Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Program (March 2011) (US House of Representatives, Committee on Energy & Commerce, Subcommittee on Health)
This hearing addressed the challenges of keeping the program self-sustaining and features testimony from William Minnix, Chair of ADVANCE CLASS.
8) Scan Foundation CLASS Technical Assistance Briefs (April 2011)
These 16 briefs address the many facets of making CLASS operational, including marketing, successful models for using cash benefits, and beneficiary assessment.
9) The CLASS Act. The long-term care insurance program created by the Affordable Care Act will be reshaped to address concerns about solvency. (May 2011) Health Affairs
This brief outlines potential problems with the program, including adverse selection, and provides strategies to make program sustainable, including making the program mandatory. Note: This brief was updated in November. The updated brief is available
10) The CLASS Story Pits the Angel We Don't Know Against the Devil We Do (Spring 2011) Generations
This brief by William L. Minnix, Chair of ADVANCE CLASS, appeared in Generations and explains the history behind planning a long-term care program like CLASS, bringing the aging and disability worlds together, and analyzes reasons people are against CLASS.
11) Letter to Secretary Sebelius from Republicans on House Oversight and Government Reform Committee (2011, Sept 22).
This letter details concerns from Republican lawmakers about the CLASS program.
12) A Report on the Actuarial, Marketing, and Legal Analyses of the CLASS Program (2011, October) U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services
This report explains how AOA attempted to design the CLASS program within the parameters of the law creating the program.
13) Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Program: 2011 Report to Congress by the Office of the Inspector General, Dept. of Health and Human Services (2011, December)
This report provides an overview of CLASS and the efforts AOA's efforts to design CLASS.
14) Advance CLASS
15) Frequently Asked Questions about CLASS (Administration on Aging)
This national advocacy organization is dedicated to the implementation of CLASS and provides updates and media coverage.
This website answers some of the most commonly asked questions about CLASS, including timelines, whether or not the program is mandatory, and how CLASS benefits could be used.
1) The New Heath Care Law and the CLASS Program
2) The Changes to Save a Big Idea (New York Times, April 2011)
This short video by AARP provides an overview of CLASS.
Ron Lieber explains the challenges in designing the provisions within CLASS to make it sustainable.
3) Why we Need CLASS (May 2011, Family Caregiver Alliance)
This blog posting on Disability.blog by FCA staff explains the need for CLASS in the context of the caregivers we speak with every week who are facing enormous financial difficulties as they attempt to provide care, possibly quit jobs, and assist with medical costs for their loved ones.
4) Providers outraged: 'Gang of Six' spending proposal would eliminate CLASS Act (McKnight's Long-Term Care News & Assisted Living, 2011, July 20)
This article details the "Gang of Six" proposal that would have eliminated CLASS.
5) With CLASS Potentially Shelved, Is it back to the Status Quo? (FCA's Blog, 2011, September 23)
This posting describes the current status of long-term care financing in the U.S., the role of Medicaid as a "payer of last resort" and issues with purchasing LTC insurance.
6) With CLASS out, future clouded for long-term care (California Health Line, 2011, October 19)
This articles summarizes HHS' decision to pause the CLASS program and the issues that most Americans don't plan for financing their long-term care.
7) The Future of Elder Care (NPR's On Point, 2011, October 19)
This radio show, took place after CLASS was suspended and discusses the current state of long-term care financing, including difficulties with long-term care insurance.
Topic: Home and Community-Based Services