People in need of care in Germany have to pay more and more themselves

People in need of care in Germany have to pay more and more themselves

According to a recent report, the cost of long-term care in Germany has increased dramatically since 2018 - and the higher costs are largely being borne by elderly people themselves.

Cost of long-term care rising in Germany

People in need of care in Germany are having to pay more and more out of their own pockets for a place in a care home. Since October 2018, the average personal contribution towards the cost of long-term care has risen by more than 110 euros to nearly 1.930 euros a month, according to a new evaluation of the “Nursing Database” of the Association of Private Health Insurance (PKV) by the Editorial Network (RND). This is an increase of more than six percent. 

The report states that the main reason is wage increases for nursing staff. Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) warned back in March that the demand for additional nursing staff and better pay would push up costs. 

Care is most expensive in North Rhine-Westphalia

The PKV’s database contains information from more than 11.000 of the approximately 13.000 nursing homes in Germany. According to the RND, personal contributions rose the most in Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony and Thuringia, where they went up by almost 10 percent.

Despite this dramatic increase, the cost of long-term care is still highest overall in North Rhine-Westphalia, where as of September this year the personal contribution has reached 2.406 euros per month. In October 2018, it was 2.309 euros. 

The next highest costs are borne by people in need of care in Saarland (2.301 euros per month) and Baden-Württemberg (2.250 euros). According to the report, the cheapest homes are currently in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, where the personal contribution is just 1.346 euros. 

German long-term care insurance system

As the system currently stands, everyone must make a contribution towards their own care as statutory long-term care insurance in Germany - unlike health insurance - only bears a part of the costs. The personal contribution varies from state to state according to fluctuations in average salaries in Germany, as well as regional requirements for staffing.  

If the person in need of care cannot cover the cost, their children are usually asked to step in. The welfare office may also get involved, but these costs are usually (at least partially) recovered from relatives. 

The SPD has long been demanding that personal contributions for long-term care should be limited, if not abolished entirely. According to the federal government’s latest plans, only those who earn more than 100.000 euros gross per year will have to contribute towards the cost of their long-term care in the future. 



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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