The Disabled Persons (Independent Living) Bill aims to give older and disabled people choice over where they live, but financing long term care still remains unclear.
So rather than be taken into a care home, people could choose to be helped to live independently in their own homes. Local authorities would still decide who to help, based on their level of need and financial circumstances.
Each qualifying person would have the right to specify whether to receive the resources as an individual payment to them, a delegated payment to a person who would manage the budget on their behalf, in the form of the provision of services by the local authority or NHS, or as a combination.
Under the bill, local authorities could seek payments from disabled people in respect of certain arrangements or services provided. This would exclude disability benefits and occupational pensions. The Bill, even if it succeeds, does not contain any proposals about how the overall scheme would be funded and how long term care will be funded in the future. Finding solutions to funding long term care is very low down on government priorities, almost invisible.
Individuals need to consider ways of insuring for potential care costs and reinvesting assets to prepare for costs in later life. The insurance industry needs to develop products, which meet this need.
Long term care insurance was developed on the model of people going into care homes. Many insurers exited the market, leaving only a few left.
The way that many people deal with long term care funding is to buy an Equity Release product. Although these are now more reputable than they once were, the basis of mortgaging the home to get income has many drawbacks. The only true course of action for families with long term care needs is to look at all the options
New rules mean that only those financial advisors with qualifications in long term care can give advice on long term care insurance products.
Long term care : News update: June 2006