Expert warns the costs of care could still spiral despite reform
The implementation of the changes to long-term care in the UK is now beginning. The changes to the ‘universal deferred payment scheme’ that allows care bills to be paid from an estate on death was introduced earlier this month. This means that elderly people do not have to sell their homes to fund their care.
However some industry experts have pointed out that there was already a deferred payment scheme in place – it was just that local authorities did not have to offer it and now they do. There are changes to the scheme though, local authorities can now charge an administration fee and interest on the rolled up debt is payable immediately (on the previous scheme it wasn’t payable until 56 days after the sale of the property or the death of the person in care).
The care costs cap has also come under scrutiny. Although set at £72,000 it will be means tested and in addition it only covers the cost of the care not the residential / food costs. There have been suggestions that a more realistic estimate of the likely full costs is £150,000.
Lee Baker, Head of Care Home Fees comments:
“With an ageing population the costs of care home fees are increasingly hitting the news and when they do they usually contain eye-watering figures. What a lot of people don’t realise is that if they, or a family member, require residential care because of a primary health need then that care should be funded by the Clinical Commissioning Group regardless of earnings, savings or assets.
“It’s this lack of general awareness that has meant clients of ours have instructed us to reclaim care costs which have been wrongly charged. It’s a pity that the same media attention isn’t being paid to promote the fact that residential care due to a primary health need is not means tested!”
Content correct at time of publication