Care cost cap ‘may be set too high to help’
MINISTERS have been urged not to set a cap on care costs which is so high that it fails to help almost all of those in need.
Theresa May is expected to publish a green paper on social care before Christmas, which will set out options about how to fund care of the elderly.
The issue nearly cost the Conservatives the last election, when their proposals were branded a “dementia tax”.
Under those plans, pensioners’ assets – down to the last £100,000 – would be used to fund care whether or not they were still living in their homes.
Amid a growing backlash, Mrs May last year said the deal would include a cap on costs, with no one having to pay more than £72,000. However, the plan was shelved, amid promises to publish a green paper – which has been repeatedly delayed – to explore the options.
Yesterday charities for the elderly raised fears that future proposals could be even worse than those which were abandoned – and could help as few as one in 20 of those in need of care.
Calculations for the Alzheimer’s So- ciety suggest that capping total costs at £72,000 would only affect seven per cent of those who receive care.
And a higher threshold of £80,000 would mean just five per cent of pensioners receiving care would get help, while just two per cent would get help if it rose as high as £100,000, the estimates by analysts LaingBuisson show.
The average resident of a care home spends two and a half years there, with annual costs of £30,000 to £40,000.
Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, has indicated his interest in new models of funding – including either a voluntary or compulsory system of insurance for those of working age.
Such a system could cover all care costs, but would be more likely to cap them at a certain level. The green paper – likely to be published the week before Christmas – is likely to propose a cap, but defer setting a specific level.
The Alzheimer’s Society said any ceiling on costs needed to be lower than £72,000 if it was to make a real difference. Jeremy Hughes, the charity’s chief, said: “If they suggest a cap on care costs higher than the £72k proposal, it will leave people with dementia hung out to dry.”