Exploring the Australian home care packages can be overwhelming, particularly when assessing the costs. This guide explains everything you need to know about the different prices and how they impact your plan.
If you are exploring care options available in Australia, then you likely already know that there are a variety of possibilities available to you. One of the most popular choices right now is home care. Home care is available from the Australian government and there are a total of four different care packages that could be suitable for your needs. The level is determined by the type of support that you require.
The first step is always going to be completing a care assessment. You can arrange an assessment by contacting My Aged Care directly. It’s important to do this as soon as possible as there is often a wait time for an assessment to be available.
Once you have completed an assessment you will be advised on whether you will be offered a home care package.
The next step is to check how much this home care package will cost you and that’s where things get a little complicated.
While home care packages are subsidized by the government, you will be expected to contribute to the cost. The cost can also differ depending on the provider that you choose.
Certain fees also only apply to particular people so it is understandable to feel confused here.
There are two main types of fees. These are provider fees and Government Contribution.
There are three different types of fees that you may be expected to pay to your provider. This includes:
- Basic daily fee
- Income-tested fee
- Additional fees
Starting with the basic daily fee, this is calculated as a percentage for the single person rate for the basic age pension and is based on your home care package level. Basic daily fee is optional and Home Caring do not charge the basic daily fee.
If you receive a basic level 1 care package, it’s 15.68% of the basic age pension. If however, you are receiving level 4 it’s 17.5%.
The fee increases each year to match the changes to the age pension.
The income-tested fee will depend on your financial services. If you are required to pay an income-tested fee, then the government subsidy is reduced based on the amount you are deemed to be eligible to pay.
Your care provider will still need to provide support based on the total value of your package. However, the source of the funds will change.
As an example, you could earn $28,000 annually. If that’s the case, then you will be required to pay a daily income-tested fee of approximately $15.
These fees can be paid every fortnight or every month and this will depend on your care package as well as your provider.
Be aware that there are limits on the income-tested care fee that you can be expected to pay. It’s also important to note that if you have a yearly income below the max amount a person can have to be deemed a pension, you will not have to pay an income-tested care fee.
Additional fees can cover anything that you have agreed to pay that wouldn’t typically be covered by a home care package. These will differ from company to company. For instance, you might be required to pay administration fees. This could include the cost of preparing monthly statements and managing the funds for your package.
You may also need to pay a care management fee. This will include the cost of reviewing your home care agreement and adjusting it where necessary.
The government subsidizes a percentage of the cost for your home care. The amount that they will provide is dependent on the level of care you receive:
- Level 1 – $9,000
- Level 2 – $15,750
- Level 3 – $34,250
- Level 4 – $52,000
The amount that the government contributes increases every year. The numbers above our approximations but roughly what you should expect to receive for different levels of care if you qualify for home care this year.
The government contribution will be paid directly to the home care provider of your choice. Remember, you have complete control over the home care provider that you want. As such, you can choose a provider that costs more or less, depending on your budget concerns. Although, this should not be the primary deciding factor.
How Do You Find Out Your Fees?
The fees that you will be expected to pay will be advised by the DHS. However, if you are receiving an income-tested payment, then you don’t need to take any assessment. Once you enter a home care agreement, you will receive a letter advising you of any fees that you will be required to pay.
This includes if you are receiving an aged pension of a department of Veterans Affairs payment.
If however, you are a part pension or you don’t receive a means-tested income support payment, then you will have to complete an income assessment form. This will directly assess what fees you will be expected to pay.
You can complete an income assessment form by accessing the DHS website.
Once you have completed an assessment, both you and your chosen care provider will receive a letter. This will detail in full the fees that you will be expected to pay as a result of your income assessment.
Are There Hidden Fees?
While different providers can charge various fees, these must be laid out and published in full on My Aged Care. When you use the ‘Find A Provider’ tool that is available, you will be able to see all the fees that you will be expected to pay.
Furthermore, your provider is obligated to provide you a copy of the price schedule. They can only charge you for the prices that are listed within your budget. If a provider wants to charge you more, regardless of whether the amount is higher or lower, then they will need to discuss this with you before a charge is made.
Any amounts for your home care package do need to be included in your monthly statement which forms part of your home care agreement. As such, there are no hidden fees although the full cost may not always be clear at first.
A provider can also charge an exit cost. You should make sure that you ask your provider about this before you agree to sign up for a home care plan. This can be charged if you decide to switch providers or leave home care completely.
What If You Are Unable To Afford Your Fees?
If you are unable to afford the fees as they have been laid out by your assessment, then you have a few options. You can think about appealing the results of the assessment. If you do this, then your results will be checked to ensure that they do match your current situation including your income and the assets that you have available.
You can also think about applying for financial hardship assistance. This can be used to help with your basic daily fee or your income-tested care fee.
The government does recommend that before you sign up for a home care plan, you do seek independent financial advice. The Financial Information Service can provide you with the information that you need and help you understand the cost of home care packages as well as whether they will provide the level of value that you want or need.
What Can You Use Your Home Care Packaged Budget For?
Your home care package budget can be used in a variety of ways to vastly improve your quality of life and ensure that you are comfortable living at home. This can be discussed with your chosen care provider.
Some examples include gardening, home maintenance, assistive technology, and personal services. It is important to make sure that your home care provider is using the budget available to meet your desired goals. For instance, you might want to spend the money on maintaining your home so that you can focus on other tasks in your life. Or, you could be interested in ensuring that your budget is used to maximize your level of mobility with the right equipment and transport facilities. Again, if you discuss the options with your home provider, they should formulate a plan that matches your requirements perfectly.
Do note that there are items and services that you can not use your home care package for. This includes everything from gambling to the cost of utilities and fuel as well as home modifications. Entertainment and travel for holidays are also not allowed as part of a home care package.
We hope this helps you understand the home care package costs and fees as well as what you could be expected to pay. At Home Caring, we are always happy to discuss our fees with you and ensure that you are happy with the services that we can provide, guaranteeing that you get the most value out of your home care package.