Health: Care relief is coming - warning of “cost avalanche”

In view of ever-increasing costs for care, relief for those in need of care at home and in nursing homes will be available in the new year.

Health: Care relief is coming - warning of “cost avalanche”

In view of ever-increasing costs for care, relief for those in need of care at home and in nursing homes will be available in the new year. The care allowance, which was last increased in 2017, will increase by five percent on January 1st, as stipulated by a law from the traffic light coalition. Care allowance is intended to support those in need of care who do not live in institutions. In addition, relief surcharges for residents in homes will be increased on January 1st. The amount you have to pay for pure care should be reduced more significantly than before.

The German Foundation for Patient Protection criticized the increases as too low. Board member Eugen Brysch told the German Press Agency: "The avalanche of costs that is piling up is burying the more than four million people in need of care at home." The increase in care allowance is “virtually ineffective”. The price increases of the past few months have hardly been offset. Those affected alone have to bear rising wages and galloping energy costs, which are not offset by the federal government. Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) must ensure that the increase in care allowance meets the basic needs of those in need of help.

The reform passed in the spring is intended to mobilize an additional 6.6 billion euros per year and initially provide financial security for long-term care insurance until 2025. In a first step on July 1st, the care contribution was increased by 0.35 percentage points, and a little more for those without children. Families with at least two children pay less contributions than before - based on the employee share. In a second stage, several relief measures will follow on January 1st. An overview:

Care at home

The care allowance, which was last increased seven years ago, is increasing by five percent. Those in need of care can decide for themselves how to use it - many pass it on to caring relatives as recognition. Outpatient benefits in kind for care provided by nursing services will also be increased by five percent. The exact amounts depend on the level of care. For example, according to the Association of Replacement Funds with care level three, the care allowance increases from 545 euros to 573 euros - and the amount for benefits in kind from 1,363 to 1,432 euros.

Care in the home

Relief surcharges for residents introduced at the beginning of 2022 depending on the length of stay will be increased. This should reduce the personal contribution for pure care in the home by 15 instead of the previous 5 percent, in the second year by 30 instead of 25 percent, in the third by 50 instead of 45 percent and from the fourth year onwards by 75 instead of 70 percent. The background is that nursing care insurance - unlike health insurance - only covers part of the costs for pure care. In the home there are also payments for accommodation, food and investments in the facilities.

Care support allowance

If employees have to take care of close relatives and therefore do not go to work, they can apply for wage replacement benefits. Previously this was only possible for ten working days per person in need of care, now for up to ten working days per calendar year.

transparency

Those in need of care can now request that their care insurance provider provide them with a semi-annual overview of the services they have used and their costs. According to the ministry, the information must be prepared in such a way that even laypeople can understand it.

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