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Care insurance for older people

14th July 2009

Proposals made by MPs in a green paper on the reform of the financing of social care include the idea of 'care insurance' for older people.

Old Hands

The paper proposes that elderly people should buy insurance in order to ensure they can pay to be looked after.

The present system, which relies on means testing, has been labeled a "cruel lottery" by some MPs.

A person in England who has a house or savings worth £23,500 or over is not allowed to claim state money for care or receive aid from social services.

This system means many elderly people have to put their homes up for sale or spend their savings in order to pay for care.

The green paper puts forwards several options for payments, including taking money from a person's estate after they have died, a "social care tax" which would be similar to national insurance and a co-payment system.

Health Secretary Andy Burnham said the options would mean that every person in England would be entitled to care.

He told the BBC that "now that is a big step forward and it's not something we've been able to say before. But under any of the options we'll be putting forward today that is what would happen."

"We have got to end the cruel lottery with people selling their homes."

 

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