Aged care - Home care - greater choice

Since February 2017, some welcome changes have been made to the home care system — giving greater choice to older Australians.

In the years ahead, the ageing population means the number of people requiring home care is going to increase so it’s important that as people age they have choice about the care they receive.

From February 2017, all home care packages are provided to individuals from a national pool rather than to home care providers under a funding allocation process.

This means that once your funding has been approved, based on your individual needs and situation, you can change providers — without having to reapply for funding. Also, any unused funds remain yours.

This change is expected to create a more competitive, customer-driven home care industry empowering people to shop around for providers that are better able to meet their needs.

Did you know?

The number of people in government subsidised home care in 2014 was over 65,000* across Australia.

Case study

Megan has been assessed and approved to receive a home care package. Let’s see her options before and after the home care reforms.

Before

Under the old system, Megan doesn’t have a choice of provider. The provider allocated to her:

  • charged 10 per cent administration fee and 25 per cent case management fee. This left only 65 per cent of her funding for actual care costs
  • supplied a package that wasn’t to her liking as Megan prefers to go to bed at 10pm but her provider insists on providing services that require her to go to bed at 8pm
  • offered 10 hours care per week when she preferred 14 hours.

Megan’s family investigated changing her supplier but, in her area, it would be a 12 month wait.

After

After February 2017, there are more service providers that Megan can consider. One offered to:

  • charge a 2.5 per cent administration fee and 10 per cent case management fee. This means that more of her home care package could be used for actual care costs. This would be 87.5 per cent compared with her current provider who allocates only 65 per cent to actual care
  • accommodate her specific needs around the timing of visits each day and the number of carer hours per week.

Megan proceeds to negotiate with a new provider.

If you, or a family member, are considering your eligibility for home care services or wish to consider reviewing your service provider please speak to your Bridges financial planner.

* Source: 2014 Department of Heath Facts and Figures in Aged Care.