Are the Government’s care home fee proposals too good to be true?

‘Big news’ currently is the Government’s plan to ‘revolutionise’ the burden of care home fees by introducing the Social Care Levy to finance additional resource for the NHS and to alleviate the impact of adult social care on the families and individuals involved.

It should be noted that the cap of £86,000 does not apply to those already in a nursing home setting but rather comes into force for anyone who has need of nursing home care from October 2023.

Importantly, a point that the Government have failed to make clear is that the cap does not apply to the ‘bed and breakfast’ element of nursing home fees.  So what and how much is that?

It is difficult to be accurate about the cost of the bed and breakfast charge but we know that the average care home fees are between £27,000 and £39,000 per annum while the average nursing home fees are between £35,000 and £55,000 per annum.  Using the lower of these figures, we can roughly compute that the difference between the charge relating to care homes and nursing homes, ie £8,000 relates to the ‘nursing’ element of fees and that the lower fee of £27,000 applicable to care homes is the bed and breakfast charge, ie the cost of the bed, the facilities, food, entertainment, care home staff etc.

Based on the above, an individual would need to be in a nursing home for almost 11 years before the cap of £86,000 applies and in the meantime would have spent £297,000 on the bed and breakfast charge!

If you wish to protect assets from nursing home fees therefore it is still recommended that you look at putting in place asset protection wills which would shield assets from assessment on the death of the first of a married couple.