MPs Now Talking Of £20K Elderly Care

(Reuters) – BRITAIN MAY INTRODUCE a compulsory charge of up to £20,000 per person to pay for care in old age, health minister Andy Burnham said on Tuesday.

Just last month, the proposal was priced at around £12,000.

The proposal, which would see everyone who can afford it paying between £17,000 and £20,000, is one of the three options being considered alongside a top-up payment system and an insurance-based approach.

‘We are proposing a radical reform of care… we need a system that’s fair, simple and affordable for everyone,’ Burnham said.

Under the current system, some people have to pay tens of thousands of pounds, or sell their house, to pay for care in old age, since those with homes or savings worth more than £23,500 must pay for their own care.

On average, Britons spend £30,000 for care but 20% pay more than £50,000 and those who develop serious conditions like Alzheimer’s can pay more than £200,000.

Caring for the country’s ageing population is a big and growing business for operators of care homes, such as Southern Cross, Care UK, Nestor, Claimar Care and Mears Group.

Experts say the current system of paying for care is a lottery and not sustainable in the long-term.

‘With the ageing population, and a diminishing workforce to support the elderly, there’s going to be a significant shortfall,’ said Gris Glasper, an industry analyst at stockbroker Brewin Dolphin.

‘Either the price of care needs to come down significantly; or something else needs to be addressed — and that is an increased burden on the individual.’

But the opposition Conservative Party said Burnham’s so-called green paper on care simply started another debate, rather than taking hard decisions now.

In addition to the idea of compulsory payments, the two other options proposed are a partnership arrangement, where the state would provide between a quarter and a third of the cost of care; and a voluntary insurance scheme, which would cost individuals £20,000-£25,000.

Stephen Haddrill, director general of the Association of British Insurers, said the insurance industry ‘stands ready to work alongside the government to provide a realistic and sustainable solution.’

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  1. […] (14/07/2009) – MPs Now Talking Of £20K Elderly Care Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)A modest proposal: Let your Health Savings Account […]

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