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Means testing and the heterogeneity of housing assets: funding long-term care in Spain

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The access to publicly funded long-term care (LTC) in Spain has been traditionally rationed through the use of means tests based on individuals’ current income and needs. However, individuals’ wealth, primarily housing assets, is progressively taken into account. Parallel to this feature, the responsibilities for the organization of LTC services have been devolved to region-states – autonomous communities (ACs), giving rise to some regional heterogeneity, though limited evidence has been reported on the underlying determinants. This paper examines the current role of housing assets in determining public and private funding for long-term care in Spain. Secondly, we present a qualitative and quantitative examination of the regional heterogeneity in the provision and public funding criteria determining eligibility for public support for LTC. Finally, we report survey evidence on the individual's willingness to sell (WTS) their housing assets in order to either totally or partially finance the access to LTC. Our findings suggest that housing assets are the main source of wealth accumulation at old age. Yet there is significant regional heterogeneity in the access to LTC resulting from regional differences in the means testing criteria. Progressively, all ACs are considering housing assets in their means testing criteria. Interestingly, individuals’ willingness to sell their housing assets declines with age and is more common among less skilled and widowed individuals.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/25873/

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