Speaking at the Conservative party conference in Manchester last Saturday, Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said the Tories would introduce a voluntary scheme, to be run by insurers, with a one-off £8,000 fee in return for a guarantee that all fees for permanent residential care would be waived for the rest of their life.
People will be given the option of signing up to the scheme when they reach the state retirement age and retaining their assets when they need care, including their home and savings.
Symponia joint founder and managing director Janet Davies says: “We believe there are more than enough insurers willing to put their heads above the parapet but it is vital that the Government works with the right people, not just the insurers but also the advisers who would be advising on it.
“Changing the name of long-term care insurance to home protection plans is just emotive candyfloss without the multi-lateral buy-in and commitment of the industry.”
She also questions whether the £8,000 would be enough to cover the cost of care, pointing out it represents just a quarter of the average nursing home bill.
Bupa care services managing director Mark Ellerby welcomes Lansley’s proposal but says: “We would prefer any scheme to be compulsory. As we have seen in other countries, that is the best way to provide the highest benefit to older people at the lowest cost.”
The Association of British Insurers says it has “long advocated a partnership between the public and the private sectors to deal with the crucial issue of providing long-term care for the elderly”.