Germany’s Long-Term-Care Insurance: Putting a Social Insurance Model into Practice

A growing population of elderly has intensified the demand for long-term care (LTC) services. In response to the mounting need, Germany put into effect a LTC Insurance Act in 1995 that introduced mandatory public or private LTC insurance for the entire population of 82 million. The program was based on the organizational principles that define the German social insurance system. Those individuals in the public system and their employers each pay contributions equal to 0.85 percent of each employee’s gross wages or salary. Ten percent of the population with the highest incomes have chosen the option of purchasing private long term care insurance. Provisions were made for uniform eligibility criteria, benefits based on level of care needs, cost containment, and quality assurance. Over the first four years of its operation, the system has proved financially sound and has expanded access to organized LTC services. The German system thus may serve as an example for other countries that are planning to initiate social LTC insurance systems in other nations.

Author(s): Max Geraedts; Geoffrey V. Heller; Charlene A. Harrington

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Volume 78, Issue 3 (pages 375–401)
DOI: 10.1111/1468-0009.00178
Published in 2000