Ministers are considering a new radical system of insurance to fund elderly care with the Health and Social Care secretary, Matt Hancock, telling the Telegraph the scheme will have an ‘opt-out proposal.’
The new system would be modelled on a pensions scheme, which means every adult in England would be expected to pay into a national fund to cover their care later in their lives.
Mr Hancock said one of his main goals as Health and Social Care secretary was to see people take more responsibility for their health and care – both now and in later life.
The proposed national system would mean more security for individuals and remove any fear of facing large costs that would wipe out life savings. The proposals being considered are modelled on a ‘auto-enrolment’ system of pensions, which mean people would have to actively choose not to make payments.
“Major changes are required to cope with the rising number of elderly people needing care and so we can address the injustices of the current system,” said Mr Hancock.
Average care costs reach up to £25,000, but one in 10 people face costs of more than £100,000.
Mr Hancock said: “I’m attracted to the model of auto-enrolment, which has been so successful in pensions. If you make it the norm, tell people what it is they have to do to look after themselves, it’s often the care that very few people will opt out.
It takes away the injustice of people losing all they have saved for.”
A report by the Local Government Association estimated there would be a £3.5 billion funding gap for adult social care services by 2025 – just to maintain current standards of care.