Speaking at the launch of the white paper Building the National Care Service, health secretary Andy Burnham (pictured) said more healthcare resources will be used to prevent people requiring residential care in the first place.
‘I will ask the NHS to help lift up the National Care Service,' he said.
PCTs and local authorities will jointly commission services from social care, GPs and community teams to keep people out of hospital and residential care, the paper says.
From 2014 care entitlements will be extended so that anyone staying in residential care for more than two years will receive free treatment. By 2015, a universal social care system for adults will be funded partly by compulsory payments from the population and partly by the state.
A commission to decide how the contributions are made, and how much they will be, is to be set up after the election.
The controversial ‘death-tax' on peoples' estates is still an option, despite Chancellor Alistair Darling appearing to rule it out on a televised debate on Monday night.
The ‘historic' policy was among the ‘best and boldest' of Labour's reforms, said Mr Burnham.
The King's Fund's acting chief executive, Dr Anna Dixon, said there were many ‘grey areas' in the policy, such as how much each person will need to contribute and what level of need would be covered by the service.