The elderly are being taken care of in a nursing home in Shanghai. [Photo: IC]

Shanghai will launch a long-term care insurance program in 2018, expected to benefit three million elderly people, local authorities said Tuesday.

Shanghai, one of the 15 pilot cities in China to implement long-term care insurance, carried out the program on a pilot basis in three districts of Xuhui, Putuo and Jinshan in 2017.

About 25,000 elderly people applied for care services and 14,000 of them became beneficiaries.

From 2018, urban and rural residents who are aged 60 and older, and are recipients of health care insurance, can participate in the program.

The elderly can receive 42 kinds of care services including personal hygiene services and clinical care at home, hospitals or nursing institutions.

Fees will be largely covered by an insurance premium paid by individuals and the government.

Of the city's registered population, about 4.6 million were over 60 years old at the end of 2016, 31.6 percent of the total population. Those aged 80 and above reached 796,600 as of 2016, accounting for 5.5 percent of the total.

Currently, China has five social insurance programs: elderly care, health care, unemployment, work injury and maternity. They are run by the government and premiums are paid by the individual and the employer on a compulsory basis.

Long-term care insurance is expected to become the sixth.