Aiming Higher: Advancing Public Social Insurance for Long-term Care to Meet the Global Aging Challenge; Comment on “Financing Long-term Care: Lessons From Japan”

Document Type: Commentary

Authors

1 Aging, Disability, and Long-Term Care Program, RTI International, Waltham, MA, USA

2 Social Protection and Jobs, The World Bank, Washington, DC, USA

Abstract

Globally, aging populations are driving the demand for long-term care (LTC) services for a growing number of older people with disabilities or chronic illnesses. A key challenge for policy-makers in all countries is to find a comprehensive solution to financing LTC services to make them widely accessible, affordable, and equitable for all in need. In this commentary, we make a case for LTC policy-makers and reformers across countries to take a long-term vision toward establishing a public, mandatory social insurance model of LTC financing. We first take a hard look at the LTC financing problems and the limitations of existing financing options. We then argue for a public social insurance approach to LTC financing and offer insights into several top-level insurance design features that are key to successful implementation of a public social insurance model, building on the experiences and lessons learned from Japan and other countries that have already “gotten there.” We conclude with additional thoughts on the future of public LTC insurance in a global context, including the prospect of spreading this model to middle-income countries.

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