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APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing

No Care for All!?—Japan's quest for healthy aging through “preventive” LTC

Etsuji Okamoto, MD, MPH, Center for Information Research and Library, National Institute of Public Health, 2-3-6, Minami, Wako city, 3510197, Japan, +81-48-458-6000, atoz@niph.go.jp and Tomoko Tachibana, MD, MPH, Department of Human Resources Development, National Institute of Public Health, 2-3-6, Minami, Wako city, 3510197, Japan.

Since Japan introduced the LTC insurance in April 2000, Japan's elderly population has grown gradually making it the most aged country in the world, the number of the LTCI recipients has increased dramatically while the number of disabled elderly did not appear to have increased significantly. Evidence suggests that the sharp rise of the LTCI benefits had been induced by insurance (wood-work effects), not by the actual increase of disability. Japan maintains the national policy of providing medical and long-term care through its compulsory social insurance schemes and has not yet considered introduction of private insurance or personal saving accounts. If the medical and long-term care cost increases out of control, the government's response is likely to control it, rather than considering the introduction of supplemental financing systems. At least for LTC, there is a growing consensus that some of the present benefit disbursement is not justifiable and much of the future financial burden may be avoided by preventing the elderly from becoming disabled. The preventive LTC encourages the elderly to live in a physically and mentally active manner and involves exercise training and active walking. The LTCI Act was amended to incorporate such preventive care management with a hope that such measures will control the LTC cost at an affordable level in the long run. There is a debate even among researcher as to the effectiveness of such measures. If successful, the most aged country will not necessarily be the most expensive country to live in.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: International, Long-Term Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No

International Long-term Care Financing

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA