Under the plan, which could be announced next week, elderly and disabled adults will be given state protection against unlimited care home fees for the first time.
But it will not be implemented before 2015 and will still require individuals to pay care bills up to the level of the cap.
It may make little difference to many families, it is feared.
Pensioners will be told to buy private insurance to cover them up to the new limit, expected to be between £65,000 and £75,000. Individuals could be offered the choice of taking a lower lump sum when they retire, and converting the rest into care protection insurance.
Dunno if it’s the right number but the principle seems sound enough. It’s social insurance, pure and simple.
As with the old age pension itself.
There’s some amount that it’s rational to try and save during your working lifetime to pay for retirement. We all certainly hope to get there even if some of us don’t make it. And that rational amount is to save enough to live the average lifespan. And some (50% actually) will live longer than this, longer than the rational amount that they should have saved. Having a societal insurance mechanism for the risk of outliving your savings seems reasonable enough.
So it is with care: there’s a rational enough amount to save to pay for things. But inevitably some will require vastly more than this: those who spend a decade with Alzheimer’s say. Others will be entirely hale and hearty until the stroke or heart attack that kills them. I don’t see any reason at all why there shouldn’t be some insistence that we all pay that amount that we should rationally have saved. Yes, even if, especially if, it means selling the house. But to have societal insurance to support the outliers, the victims of simply bad luck in the mode and method of their dying.
Whether £75k is the right amount I’ve no idea. But the thought that only one in 8, one in 10 maybe, will be affected by that cap tends to suggest that it’s around and about the right sort of sum. It shouldn’t be £10k and so near everyone gets the free care. And it shouldn’t be £1 million so that about three people get it.
Insurance: that’s simply what it is, social insurance.