While the federal government has conceded the commencement date for the in-home aged care program of July 1, 2023, was optimistic – pushing it out by a year – significant changes to the current Home Care Package Program will commence from January 1.
When you receive a Home Care Package it is up to you to nominate your provider. Even if you decide to self-manage your package, you still need to have it hosted by an approved provider. There are two main fees that providers charge: package administration fees (to manage the payment of your services) and case management fees (it is a requirement that you have a care plan).
If you’re paying your home care provider 52 per cent as an administration fee, you could save over $21,000 per year as a result of the caps.Credit:Andrew Dyson
Currently, the cost of administration and case management fees varies significantly from one provider to another – I have personally seen an administration fee of 52 per cent.
The changes being introduced in January will cap the amount providers can charge for managing your package to 15 per cent and limit care management fees to 20 per cent.
In addition, providers will not be able to charge a package management fee in a month when no services (except for care management) are provided, bar the first month. They will also be banned from charging for third party services through brokerage, handling or subcontracting fees.
These changes could mean thousands more dollars of care. Let’s look at an example.
Changes being introduced in January will cap the amount providers can charge for managing home care packages.Credit:Fairfax Media
Joe is a pensioner who receives a Level Four Home Care Package, and pays the basic daily fee of $11.71 per day, or $4274 per year. The government provides funding of $145.94 per day, so in total Joe has $157.65 per day or $57,542 per year in his home care package.
If Joe is currently paying his home care provider 52 per cent as an administration fee, then he could save over $21,000 per year as a result of the caps. Which is $21,000 Joe can spend on the care he needs.
Capping and removing some of the fees that providers can charge will mean more money can be spent on care. It will also make it easier to compare providers. However, while some fees and charges are being capped, hourly rates are unregulated, which may tempt some providers into increasing these costs.
From January 1, Home Care Package exit fees will also be banned. While not normally a significant amount in dollar terms, there were five providers who charge an exit fee of $1000 or more. The industry average as of the end of June was $186, with almost half of providers not charging at all.
Getting good value from your home care package isn’t about shopping around for the cheapest price. It’s about finding a provider who offers good value for money, and can provide the services you need using people you are comfortable with.
- Advice given in this article is general in nature and is not intended to influence readers’ decisions about investing or financial products. They should always seek their own professional advice that takes into account their own personal circumstances before making any financial decisions.
Rachel Lane is the principal of Aged Care Gurus and co-author of Aged Care, Who Cares?
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