Professor Ito Peng recently wrote an article for Policy Options, the newsletter of the Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP). In it, she discusses the lessons that Canada can gain from studying long-term care schemes in Japan, Korea and Germany. She argues that the implementation of public insurance plans and strong regulations to support long-term care systems could help Canada prevent covid-19 related deaths among people receiving long-term care. The full story is available on the website here.
Other countries such as Japan, Korea and Germany have implemented public insurance plans and strong regulations to support long-term care.
June 5, 2020
Relative to our international peers, Canada is experiencing alarmingly high fatality and mortality rates due to COVID-19 in long-term care (LTC) facilities. Lessons from other countries are useful in this regard. Japan, South Korea (hereafter Korea) and Germany serve as good examples of countries that have paved different paths by focusing on a continuum of care, a public insurance system and regulations. If Canada had a more universal and better regulated system, it would be able to ensure that more people access a variety of care services at home and avoid a heavy reliance on facility-based LTC.
Japan, Korea and Germany introduced universal, mandatory public long-term care insurance (LTCI) as their populations began to age. LTCI is a social insurance program that covers the cost of care in case people need assistance to manage their daily living activities. In these countries LTCI covers a broad range of activities for daily living associated with aging and disability, from light home-helper services to intensive institutional care. The coverage isavailable for any level of care need, not simply for the most severe cases of disability.
In Japan and Korea, LTCI covers the care needs of everybody over the age of 65, and of those over the age of 40 if they have age-related disabilities such as dementia. In Germany, the insurance covers the care needs of everybody over the age of 18. In all three countries, LTCI functions much like employment insurance in Canada: in Japan and Korea, all working adults aged 40+ must contribute into the insurance fund, mostly through payroll deductions matched by employers; in Germany, the contribution starts from age 18, also through payroll deduction.