|▲ A panel discussion is held to overhaul the long-term care insurance system for older persons on June 26 at the conference hall of the National Assembly.(Courtesy of Seoul City Older Person Care Workers Support Center)|
Ten years have passed since the long-term care insurance system was introduced in Korea. Although the operation of the insurance system is a public institution funded by the tax payers' money and insurance premiums, most of care services are provided through the private market.
Experts and care workers agreed that the long-term care insurance system is a failure. The fierce competition between care providers in the market made the system barely stay afloat, only with the sacrifices of care workers in the low wages and long working hours. The quality of care services also fell as well.
Among some 300,000 care workers, 86% of them are home-based care workers. 'No client' means 'no income'. Since the care service agency does not provide any guaranteed working hours to the care workers, their waiting for calls from the clients goes on and on. The level of wages is also low, According to the wage data released in 2015, the facility-based care workers earned 1,150,000 won(US$ 1,012) per month on average and the monthly average earning of the home-based care workers was 640,000 won(US$ 563).
The panel discussion pointed out that it is necessary to strengthen the regulations at the market entry stage and introduce the certification system at the operation stage in order to control the mushrooming private care service agencies and strengthen the publicness. The establishment of a 'social service corporation' was suggested to employ care workers directly to improve the working conditions of the care workers and provide quality care services to the clients.
reported by Yoon Ja-eun
translated by Kim Sung-jin
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