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Long-term Care in Germany

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Johannes Geyer, Axel H. Börsch-Supan, Peter Haan, Elsa Perdrix

Cambridge, Mass.: National Bureau of Economic Research, 2023, 48 S.
(NBER Working Paper Series ; 31870)


This chapter provides an overview of the German long-term care insurance. We document care needs and wellbeing of the elderly population. Moreover, we provide a detailed description of the German long-term care institutions (sources of finance and types of benefits), the professional care work force, and informal caregivers. Finally, we document expenditures on long-term care and estimate the value of informal care. The cost of long-term care for the elderly (65+), including both cost of nursing home and home health agency, reached 61 billion euro in 2019. Half of these spending are for nursing homes while only about 22.5% of beneficiaries use these institutions. Out-of-pocket spending differs greatly between modes of care. Out-of-pocket expenditures make up only about 7% of total expenditures for home care. In nursing homes, 41% of expenditures are out-of-pocket payment. Most of the expenditures are covered by the long-term care insurance. The share of other governmental schemes in expenditures for inpatient care is relatively high. This is explained by a high rate of benefit recipients who cannot afford co-payments for nursing homes: about one-third of all nursing home residents receive means- and wealth-tested social assistance. If we add the costs of informal care the share of privately financed care amounts to nearly 60% of total expenditures.

Johannes Geyer

Deputy Head in the Public Economics Department

Peter Haan

Head of Department in the Public Economics Department

Topics: Health

JEL-Classification: H51;I13;I18
Keywords: Public Economics, National Fiscal Issues, Health, Education, and Welfare, Health
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