This cap won’t fit! – report says care funding reforms won’t work
Government reforms to cap people’s care costs, due to be launched in 2016, will fail to meet any of its objectives, argues a new report by the Strategic Society Centre in partnership with Bupa. The report says the reforms:
- Will not cap people’s care costs, given most individuals pay more for care than what their local authority contributes, particularly in residential care;
- Will not give people peace of mind because of annual increases in the value of the ‘cap’ by around £3,000 per year;
- Will not enable people to prepare for the costs of care because the £72,000 ‘liability’ individuals are left with is uninsurable, and there will be no insurance market in response to the reforms.
In 2010, the Government launched the Commission on Funding of Care and Support, chaired by Andrew Dilnot. Dilnot proposed a ‘capped cost’ model for long-term care funding in England, built around the core principle that it is the responsibility of the state to protect individuals from the risk of catastrophic social care costs.
The Government announced plans to implement the proposals by introducing reforms in 2016 which will see a ‘cap’ of £72,000 and an Upper Capital Limit for residential care of £118,000 introduced. The report also notes that the ‘capped cost’ reforms are likely to prove a barrier to the Government’s integrated care agenda, despite the Government committing more than £3bn to integrated care from 2015.
The report – ‘A Cap that Fits’ – goes on to recommend an alternative package of reforms to be implemented in 2016, entitled ‘capped cost plus’, which James Lloyd, director of Strategic Society Centre, report author and former Downing Street Advisor on care funding reform, says would overcomes many of the problems identified.
“The Government deserves enormous credit for keeping the long-term care funding agenda alive, committing to an implementation date and finding £1bn to fund the reforms,” said Mr Lloyd.
“However, with less than three years until implementation, the Government must face up to and deal with the fact that the ‘capped cost’ reforms will not achieve any of their objectives. “As our report shows, it doesn’t have to be this way and alternatives are possible. The Government can provide a fairer, transparent workable offer to the public, but it needs to modify its course now.”
Commenting on the publication of the report, Bupa Care Services managing director Andrew Cannon said Bupa shared the concerns expressed in the report that the proposed cap creates more confusion for older people and their families and would make it more difficult for people to plan for their long-term care needs.
“We are concerned that the proposed cap further isolates social care from the NHS and risks widening the gap between care costs and what local authorities pay for care,” said Mr Cannon. “Social care funding must be considered as part of a broader integrated health and social care system if we are to develop and implement a model that is truly sustainable and fair.”