Send your news, photos and videos by texting bucksfreepress to 80360 or email
Care cap could be set at £100,000
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said the Government was looking at the "whole range" of options about how the elderly pay for residential care
Ministers have indicated that a cap on care costs for the elderly could be set as high as £100,000 - four times the lower limit recommended by experts.
The Government is also looking at an opt-in scheme which would allow wealthier pensioners to be protected by a limit on future costs - but only if they paid into some form of insurance scheme.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said that no decision would be made on the level a care cap should be set at until the next spending review, but Department of Health analysis shows the Government has looked at a number of options, including a £75,000 and a £100,000 limit.
The threshold would be applied to individuals and, combined with a separate £10,000 maximum on bills for accommodation and living costs accrued by pensioners in homes, could leave couples paying out well over £200,000.
Last year a review chaired by economist Andrew Dilnot recommended setting a cap between £25,000 and £50,000 to stop pensioners being forced to sell their homes to cover sky-high bills.
Mr Lansley said the Government was looking at the "whole range" of options and insisted Mr Dilnot had also raised the possibility of a higher cap.
He added: "Of course, if you have a higher cap you do two things - you reduce the cost but you also increase the incentive for somebody to take out insurance or a financial services product to meet that cost. But it is a balance and we are going to look at the whole range and the progress report sets out a range and illustrates such caps."
It came as the Government announced plans to give state loans to pensioners moving into residential care so they do not have to sell their property immediately.
People will be able to borrow money from councils at nominal interest rates, with the sum being paid back after their death.
The scheme, being introduced across England in April 2015, is intended to help around 40,000 people each year who are forced to sell their homes to cover care costs.