Funding long-term care (LTC) is a challenge under the existing Beveridgean universal healthcare system. The Autonomy Insurance (AI) plan developed in Quebec was an attempt to introduce public LTC insurance into our healthcare system. The AI benefit was based on an assessment of the needs of older people and those with disabilities using a disability scale (SMAF) and case-mix classification system (Iso-SMAF Profiles). Under the plan, the benefit would be used to fund public institutions or purchase services from private organizations. Case managers were responsible for assessments and helping users and their families plan services and decide how to use the AI benefit. Funding AI was based on general tax revenues without capitalized funding, under a separate protected budget program. Projections were made for the additional budget needed to support AI, which would have mitigated the forecast increase in LTC spending due to population aging. All the legal, administrative, funding, training and contractual issues were dealt with, for implementation of the plan in April 2015. Unfortunately, the project was still-born for political reasons, but it demonstrates the feasibility of this essential innovation for Canada.
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