Paid family medical leave premiums now deducted from WA State paychecks but will they cover the cost of the program?

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A new law has gone into effect in Washington State where employees have monies deducted from their paychecks to pay for paid family medical leave. Employers also kick in some money into the insurance program. The state is collecting monies a year in advance; benefits won’t be available until 2020.

About the program details, from

“Those benefits are partial wage reimbursement for at least 12 weeks when you have a qualifying family or medical event, 16 weeks if you have events qualifying for both family and medical, and up to 18 weeks under certain special circumstances, such as pregnancy complications.

The cost: 0.4 percent of paychecks split roughly 63/37 percent between employee and employer, respectively. A worker earning $50,000 annually would see about $2.42 cents a week taken out of their check, and then when benefits kick in next year, they would be eligible for partial wage reimbursement of up to $1000 a week depending on your earnings.

Read about all the insurance program details here.

The law firm of Davis Wrights Tremaine has been working with businesses to help them get ready for the new law. According a lawyer from that firm:

“But with the program just rolling out funding and rule making still fluid there are some unknowns and concerns. Is this program adequately funded? Is there going to be enough in the pot to account for individuals taking leave? What will be the usage rate of this? And that’s a real unknown right now.

What’s more, is that premiums could actually go up.

There is some language in the law that, there can be an increase in the premium amount. We could see an increase to 0.6 percent gross, and it’s unclear after that point, if it’s still underfunded, what’s going to happen. Are we going to see those premiums increase? And I think it’s probably likely that will we see an increase in the premium amount.

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10 responses to “Paid family medical leave premiums now deducted from WA State paychecks but will they cover the cost of the program?

  1. ‘How stupid can you get?’ is a question not a challenge.

  2. The USA is the only industrial nation without a National Medical Plan for its citizens. Why is this?

    The answer’s very simple: its feral gubbmint is in thrall to Big Pharma and Big Insurance. The states are thrown to these wolves, to do what they can to mediate for residents, but of course they are unable to fully fund their needs, as they’re swamped with infrastructure, education, and other debts.

    My oldest daughter’s seriously considering returning to California with her three children, as she thinks she’s found the love of her life. But she’s lived in BC 17 years now, and has grown accustomed to having BC Medical for herself and her children as well. In addition to this, her three children receive total dental care until 18: there’s no charge for this benefit, which was put in place 10 years ago. I estimate, from my experience in the Bay area in 2000-2003, for her to buy comparable coverage will be at least $3,000 a month, IF she can find it, which I doubt, as there will be areas not covered and a raft of co-pays, none of which she’s used to fund. None.

    When the next overdue Revolution finally arrives in the US, it may well be over the lack of an adequate universal national medical plan.

    • “…there’s no charge for this benefit”

      There must be a charge to taxpayers. Or do dentists provide free services?

    • “The USA is the only industrial nation without a National Medical Plan for its citizens. Why is this?”

      There are many, many taxpayer/government-sponsored medical plans for citizens. Forget the “national” label….government plans do exist. They exist at the federal, state, county and city level (as well as many private at the charity level). Yet they DON’T work unless you rely on the government for your medical care (which I HIGHLY do not recommend).

      I don’t have enough time to provide links to all of the taxpayer-provided health care services in the US, it would be an exhausting list.

      Here’s my personal experience with government-provided health care in the US:

      When I lived in King County, Washington and had no health care insurance, I was provided ER care when I had a cut to my leg, at no cost to me (late 90s). Taxpayers covered my care. I also visited a clinic when I had a need for antibiotics (same decade)u. Taxpayers covered my care.

      After that, I obtained full-time work and had employer-provided health care with minimal expenses.

      Then Obamacare kicked in…

      For several years while unemployed and during the Obamacare years I paid cash for medical visits. My doctors offered discounts to those who paid cash and didn’t have medical insurance. That occurred in WA State.

      When I first moved to my small town in Oklahoma and required a TB shot for food service, I went to the local county health care clinic. The cost was “zero” yet they suggested donations. I gave them $10.

      Once I (or rather my boyfriend who was my “household income”) started purchasing the mandated Obamacare insurance premiums, I was able to see a “real” doctor instead of visiting the local county health agency.

      Unfortunately, the only doctor who would accept me was the local health clinic which received federal dollars. Turns out that was OK as to this day I still see that doctor. And my “household income” pays.

      Fast forward to 2014: My monthly health insurance premiums didn’t go down by $2,500/year with Obamacare.

      Long story short: My monthly premiums started out around $380/month and are now $600/month. My deductible is over $7K per year and over $14K/year for out of network. I have NEVER reached my insanely large deductible amount for health care so my “household income” pays my bills.

      Because I NEVER met my deductible, I (nor my “household income” pays for EVERYTHING out of pocket via CASH (doctor visits [contracted dtr visit amount which is $120], mammograms, yearly blood work and stool samples, pap smears, etc.)

      I thought Obamacare would take care of that, right? WRONG.

      “I estimate, from my experience in the Bay area in 2000-2003, for her to buy comparable coverage will be at least $3,000 a month, IF she can find it, which I doubt, as there will be areas not covered and a raft of co-pays, none of which she’s used to fund. None.”

      Welcome to my world of $600/month Obamacare/universal health care in which “we need to pass it to find out what is in it” world.

      It SUCKS to include no deductibles for visiting a federally-funded facility, having no children yet still being charged for their (invisible) care, your contracted amount and, even thought you are unemployed, your “household income” is responsible for the calculation of your bills.

      Yet that is the result of a “national medical plan” that somehow works for all citizens.

      • While I don’t know about other provinces, here in BC under good old Wacky Bennett, his teetotaling Christian heart told him the the way to pay for hospital care was to make it part of our sales tax. This was a very smart move: our 5% sales tax is rightly termed ‘social services tax’.

        All the sales tax from the liquor control board, which was until very recently a monopoly, is used to fund our hospitals, where we get fully paid care WITHOUT a premium or payment.

        There’s no reason the same policies can’t be put into place in Washington, Oregon, or California, which are places where I’ve lived for extended periods of time. There’s no direct cost to ALL taxpayers: you buy the alcohol beverage or tobacco you want, and pay for your bed in advance by installments!

        • “All the sales tax from the liquor control board…is used to fund our hospitals…”

          So if ALL the sales tax is used to fund hospitals, who pays the costs of processing/monitoring/tracking/collecting/dispersing the sales tax?

          I don’t mean to be so critical of the BC system (which I admit I haven’t thoroughly researched). I just DO NOT trust government agencies to do a more thorough and less expensive job than anyone in the private sector.

          And I certainly wouldn’t trust any bureaucrat in the liberal la-la-lands of WA, OR or CA to implement the same policy. You can probably guess why that is…

        • You have a 5% sales tax that pays for your socialized medicine costs for all citizens? Dang! How are they managing this? I’m paying 11% sales tax in California and STILL have to pay $12,000 a year through my employer (matched by them…so, $24,000 per year total) for my health insurance in a Kaiser Permanente group healthcare plan (Plus I pay a separate vison and dental insurance on my own per year). I can count the times on ONE hand….less than one hand, in fact, that I’ve had to use my doctor in the last decade (b/c it is a PAIN IN THE ARSE to get an appointment, especially since Obamacare, where my appointment “wait-time” has increased from weeks to MONTHS—even in emergent situations…. and you can wait 24 hours in an “urgent care” clinic and still NEVER be seen……and for THIS…they are paid $24,000 per year for me!!!!!! So, I JUST DON’T GO TO THE DR.—– WHEN I NEED IT…SOMEONE WILL CALL AN AMBULANCE WHEN I COLLAPSE…THEN, MAYBE, I’LL GET AN APPOINTMENT—again, I’m paying/earning $24,000 per year for this”privilege.” ) Can NOT wait to get out of Mexifornia and take my health insurance with me……

          • I well and truly understand your pain and horror, CalGirl. The basic problem in the US is that everything’s been privatised to the max, so your pain and suffering can be profitable to some corporation. Your well-being is not!

            On the federal level our National Medical Plan was first devised and put in place by Tommy Douglas, when he was Premier of Saskatchewan in the 50s. Before he entered politics he had being a Baptist minister, and the Baptist of that era had a very deep concern for social justice. Creating a provincial medical plan was his way of expressing that concern.

            It rapidly became so admired that other provinces were forced to create similar plans, and in a few years all of Canada was on a comprehensive coordinated medical plan.

            Canadians have different priorities then people in other countries, and this system is absolutely the #1 shared social culture that everyone wants to remain, not change, except for the better.

            So in a very real way, our National Medical Plan is the outcome of a deeply-felt Christian concern for the well-being of all in the community.

            You can do it also, but you’ll have to cut back on the military industrial complex spending 1.6 – 2 trillion/year between the white and black budgets.

            For those who can recall, Donald Rumsfool had called a press conference to discuss the disappeared 2 trillion dollars in military spending, set for the morning of September 11th, but of course that was cancelled due to the attack… Gadzooks, what an inconvenient coincidence!!

  3. More incentive for more people to work “under the table”. Liberals never understand that there are effects to their causes.


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