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Currently showing: Funding longer lives > Long-term care

26 Nov 13 15:08

Nowadays, many people are living longer with better health.

But did you know that medical advances can also lead to living longer with a severe disability? According to a study conducted by OECD, greater longevity generally lead to increasing numbers of elderly people living longer with a severe disability, even though disability prevalence rates have declined in some countries.

Which means that increasingly the elderly need care for a longer time.

Who pays the costs of this care?

In Japan, the government bears the bulk of the health care spending and long term care costs (LTC). The LTC system operates on a generous social insurance system. The Japanese government projected the cost of LTC services would rise from 1.6% of GDP (JPY7.9 trillion) in 2010 to 3.3% of GDP by 2024 (JPY19.7 trillion).

Fiscal sustainability for such a system is a big challenge!

What's on the government's mind? To increase co-payments or reduce access to services. What's on your mind? Are there other ways to approach this challenge?

Category: Funding longer lives: Long-term care

Location: Japan

1 Comment

Matt Singleton - 27 Nov 2013, 5:18 p.m.

These are great questions. Swiss Re's Risk perception survey suggests that the challenge is one many people in Japan struggle to answer. When asked how they would fund the LTC costs of a loved one, such as their partner or their parent, far more people say they don't know / can't answer than in any of the 18 other markets surveyed.

What's more, fewer people respond that they would take out insurance on their loved one's behalf than in any other country ... paying through savings proved most popular - only China and India rate this option above Japan's respondents.

See the results here:;cnt=513;age=1

I understand Japan's system to be one of the best at encouraging active / healthy ageing and developing new technology to support LTC, including robotics. Promising though these areas are, they will not fill the fiscal challenge you highlight on their own.

One thing is for certain, as the world's most aged society, many interested parties are watching how Japan addresses this!

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