Posted May. 24, 2005 03:35,
On May 23, the government and the Uri Party decided to introduce a medical care system for the elderly in which senior citizens over 65 years old with dementia or cerebral apoplexy and in need of nursing care will be provided with care services through social insurance as early as July 2007 or the beginning of July 2008 at the latest.
The Uri Party agreed to establish a law of medical care for the elderly in the regular session of the National Assembly (from September to December) this year.
During the presidential election back in 2002, President Roh Moo-hyun promised to introduce the above-mentioned system beginning in 2007.
If the system goes into effect, those who pay health insurance costs will have to cover an additional 2,300 won (starting 2010, monthly fee: 4,500 won) on a monthly basis for an elderly care insurance premium.
In addition to the insurance premium, the governments financial support worth 134.7 billion won, and the medical care beneficiaries shares of 151.7 billion won will be injected into the system. Also, the central and local governments will invest 80 billion won, respectively, in the establishment of a total of 100 public nursing homes annually.
In its early stage of operation, the system offers elderly people with the most intensive cases among senior citizens over 65 who can no longer afford to lead a normal life with dementia, or cerebral apoplexy, various kinds of services, including providing a nursing home, care, nursing services, bathing, rental services, and the purchase of a tool for welfare. In addition, the service charges for nursing homes, which currently cost elderly people over 700,000 won monthly, will be cut down to between 300,000 won to 400,000 won a month.
Regarding the recipients of the system, the number of beneficiaries will rise to 72,000 by June, 2010, and by June of 2013, when senior citizens with serious cases will be included, the number will swell to 147,000 people.
Lee Mok-hee, the fifth commissioner for policy coordination in the Uri Party, noted that in spite of the expansion of nursing facilities in accordance with the governments plan, approximately 14,000 people out of 34,000 intended for nursing homes wouldnt be eligible to stay at them.
Lee added that despite the potential backlash from the young generation, who will not benefit immediately while paying the insurance premium, as the introduction of the system is urgently needed, the government and the Uri Party will try to persuade young people by gathering more official opinions.
Regarding the system, the member of the Grand National Party (GNP) and executive secretary of the Health and Welfare Committee, Ko Gyung-hwa, pointed out that although she basically agrees with the introduction of a medical care system for elderly people, if the law is enacted before anything else, its inevitable for the system to be crippled when the amount of nursing homes, relevant services and labor heavily falls short, and that more of a preparatory period should be taken.