Bloomberg News

U.K. Plans Government Insurance System to Cap Elder-Care Costs

July 11, 2012

U.K. Plans Government Insurance System to Cap Elder-Care Costs

Elderly leave a day center in Saffron Walden, Essex, U.K. Photographer: Graham Barclay/Bloomberg

U.K. Health Secretary Andrew Lansley announced plans to allow people to pay into an insurance system to cap their elder-care costs.

The draft Care and Support Bill aims to bring together rules that govern care for the elderly and disabled in what Lansley said was the biggest overhaul in 64 years. He pledged to earmark an extra 300 million pounds ($467 million) from the health budget to social care. He didn’t adopt recommendations made in a government-commissioned report to cap the amount that an individual has to pay on their own at 35,000 pounds.

“No one will be forced to sell their home in their lifetime to pay for care,” Lansley told lawmakers in London today. The overhaul will “make it easier for people to get the care they want.”

Lansley didn’t explain how he will fund the extra costs of caring for an aging population beyond 2015. “Immense financial pressure” on public finances meant the government wouldn’t yet commit on the level of the cap, Lansley said.

Last year, the Commission on Funding Care and Support led by Andrew Dilnot recommended a cap of 35,000 pounds a year on the amount the elderly should pay out of their own pocket. Amounts above that would be paid for by the state. The report also proposed increasing to 100,000 pounds from 23,250 pounds the threshold of total assets at which pensioners would have to meet the full cost of care.

Dilnot, a former director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, said the proposals will prevent people spending more than a third of their wealth on care costs instead of as much as 90 percent under the existing system.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gonzalo Vina in London at gvina@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net


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