How Will the New Cap Really Affect Those Who Need Long Term Care?

There are several reforms currently being made surrounding the care system, most specifically for those who need long term care. Many of these reforms deal with how consumers are tasked with paying for their care. Subsequently, the government has been looking at better ways to help consumers offset the cost of their long term care. Perhaps the biggest part of new legislation involves a cap on the total amount that any one individual can be forced to pay for their care. This cap of £72,000 is set to be in full effect in April of 2017.

As of right now, the cost for paying for long term care is largely open-ended. There are some consumers, those with assets above £23,250 that are tasked with paying for all of their own care. Others have somewhat subsidized care in which they receive some kind of assistance from their local authority. Still others have all of their long term care paid for by the local authority. These are the individuals with the lowest levels of income and assets and they often receive some kind of personal allowance in exchange for receiving free care services.

So, at first glance, the new cap on long term care seemed like a welcomed change. With so many consumers being forced to pay for either all of their care or a significant portion of it, a cap on that amount would theoretically be very helpful. However, there are some less than obvious intricacies of the cap. To start, the cap only applies to those services known as care. Therefore, it does not cover renting a room or food.  Secondly, the new cap on long term care is not calculated out as an amount of money. Rather, is the calculation is performed using a standard fee where the local authority in the area would pay for care. The purpose of this caveat is to make sure that the government is able to help those people who are in more expensive care homes as much as those who are in less expensive ones.  Thirdly, once the cap has kicked in and the consumer has reached their maximum payout, the local authority would start paying the bill. However, this is typically done at the standard rate and not necessarily at the amount for which the consumer has been paying. Any extra would be the responsibility of the consumer. So, while the new cap on long term care is a welcomed alternative to no assistance at all, there are certainly pieces of the legislation that every consumer who may need long term care learns and understands before assuming that their local authority would be able to step in and pay for their long term care.