Demise of CLASS boosted awareness of long-term care, says former actuary

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Although all signs point to the CLASS Act being shelved indefinitely, the program's former leader says the silver lining is the ongoing discussion about long-term care needs.

Bob Yee, who was CLASS office's head actuary, told McKnights' John O'Connor at the LeadingAge Annual Meeting last week that while he is disappointed with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' decision to halt development of the program, he's glad to see public discussion continue.

“I'm really glad that all the information out there,” Yee told O'Connor. “People can make up their mind to see whether the program works or not, and understand some of the analysis that has been undertaken to make it work.”

Sebelius has long touted the fact that she would not implement a long-term care benefit that was not financially solvent. When asked if shelving the program broke that statute, Yee says a possible solution is still workable.

“There is one plan that is clearly actuarially sound, and legal, the question is that it's very expensive,” Yee said. “The more appropriate question is maybe the Secretary should ask the Congress: ‘Is that what you want?'”

And indeed, the conversation about CLASS has continued. A report in The New York Times details the overwhelming debt of expenses incurred by catastrophic illness and disability and the burden put on families in such situations.