In February 2017, the government implemented the Increasing Choice in Home Care reforms. People receiving Home Care Packages can now move their care from their existing provider to another approved care provider of their choice.
But consumers may not be fully aware of what this change means to them. In a competitive, consumer-led market, you can maximise the value of your Package and avoid certain pitfalls.
A few days before these changes came into effect, we conducted a snapshot poll* of the people who either had a Home Care Package themselves or helped a family member manage their Package. Nearly half (48%) of the people we spoke to said they weren’t aware of the upcoming changes or, had heard something about it but didn’t really understand it.
A quarter (26%) of respondents said they were likely to change their care provider. Are the remainder happy with their current care or do they simply not know enough about how these change could benefit them?
Our home care package costs
|Absolute Care & Health||Other Providers|
*The information is correct at the time of publishing. Kindly please check our Home Care Packages for the latest price and fees.
‘The devil is in the detail’ or so the saying goes. And this could certainly be the case for consumers who are not aware of some providers’ Home Care Package costs, which could see up to half of their funds disappearing in administration, case management and exit fees.
With no maximum cap on the fees a provider can charge, we are currently seeing some providers with very high Home Care Package costs.
At Absolute Care & Health, we’ve been providing privately funded in-home care for long enough to know we don’t need high administration or case management fees to provide high-quality care. We keep our fees as low as possible, at no more than 22% for Levels 3 and 4, and 27% for Levels 1 and 2. Meaning that approximately 80% of your Home Care Package funds are spent on actual services and care hours.
Nor do we believe in Exit Fees – a charge that providers are allowed to take from an individual’s Home Care Package funds if they have decided to move to a new provider. To what extent this charge may be putting people off from switching providers is not clear, but we firmly believe that it is our quality of care that should keep our clients choosing our services, not high exit fees. And we’re putting our money where our mouth is on that, with zero exit fees.
It is now obligatory for providers to publish their maximum exit fees on the My Aged Care website. These are coming in at around $500 – $700. Providers must also publish the average percentage of Home Care Package funds that are available for services after their fees have been deducted.
Choosing your provider
Over 100,000 consumers now have the option to change providers. But, if you don’t already have a Home Care Package, getting allocated one can be a bit of a waiting game. So our advice is to start the process as soon as the need arises – don’t wait until things get worse.
For many, navigating the system can seem daunting at first. We frequently receive calls from people who want to understand the process better before they go to My Aged Care or who are looking for some help navigating the process.
The 2017 changes also include a national waiting list, administered by My Aged Care rather than huge numbers of waiting lists held by individual providers all across the country. As of September 2017, there are 90,000 people waiting for Home Care Packages.
While a more competitive, consumer-led landscape is undoubtedly in the interests of people receiving Home Care Packages, there is an element of ‘buyer-beware’ and it’s vital to understand how the process works and the potential Home Care Package costs.
We can help you change providers or apply for your Home Care Package. Give us a call on 03 9827 8899.