Can social insurance for long-term care work? The experience of Germany
In 1994 Germany enacted a universal-coverage social insurance program for long-term care to largely replace its means-tested system. The program has achieved many of its stated policy goals: shifting the financial burden of long-term care off the states and municipalities; expanding home and community-based services; lessening dependence on means-tested welfare; and increasing support of informal caregivers. Many of these goals were reached without exploding caseloads or uncontrolled expenditures. We examine the German long-term insurance program, focusing on issues of financing, eligibility and assessment, benefits, availability of services, and quality assurance.