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Abstract

Long-term care (LTC) is the largest insurable risk facing the elderly in most western societies. Paradoxically, institutional responses to the need to insure ex-ante (before the contingency occurs) the financial risks of needing LTC (by means of social and private insurance and self-insurance) exhibit limited development. In contrast, mechanisms to finance LTC ex-post continue to develop, primarily those supported by the public sector (by means of subsidies or tax deductions) and the family (by means of intergenerational transfers). Both ex-ante and ex-post types of financing mechanisms are found to be subject to shortcomings which give rise to dilemmas for public policy. Governments confront these dilemmas in different ways, causing a great deal of heterogeneity in the financing and provision of LTC services across Europe.

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