If you have recently been allocated a Home Care Package, or are in the process of applying for one, it is worth knowing about the changes that came in February this year.
Essentially, the changes allowed for increased choice. While increased choice is good for competition and getting the right service, it can also be overwhelming.
In addition to wider choice, older Australians and their families also need to understand the impact of means testing that comes with a Home Care Package.
Fortunately, it is in the interests of home care providers to explain the benefit of choice, and help older Australians and their families understand means testing outcomes.
This is something older Australians should take advantage of. This article explains why.
It’s about people staying in their homes for longer
The focus on helping older Australians stay independent and in their homes for longer is not only a response to what they want, but it is also a lot cheaper than the cost of supporting someone in an aged care facility. Full time care and accommodation is expensive.
A Home Care Package is funded and allocated like an age care bed. There is an assessment of need, and an assessment of the capacity of the end user to contribute to the cost.
There is also a queue, and when a Home Care Package is allocated, there is time limit to take it up.
In 2016 there were about 200 000 aged care beds. There were also about 80 000 home care package “places”.
Unpacking the home care package
The change to Home Care Packages in February this year, introduced a new amount of flexibility as to who can co-ordinate and case manage the delivery of care services to older Australians. This is in addition to previous changes that allowed for flexibility in how the end user chose the services to suit them.
To put it a different way, older Australians were previously notified as to who was administering and case managing their care, with the older Australian having choice as to what services they needed. Under the new changes, older Australians get allocated a Home Care Package - and then look to appoint a provider to administer and case manage the delivery of care.
This is why a simple web search will uncover providers talking about how they can reduce some of these costs associated with a Home Care Package like administration and case management fees - allowing more funds to be available to pay for care support services. This is significant, in that more funding becomes available to fund the care services older Australians want.
This "unbundling" means more choice, and this can be confusing.
Look closer at the means testing
Older Australians who are allocated a Home Care Package will be assessed for their ability to contribute to the cost of care by way of a Basic Daily Fee, and an Income Tested Care Fee.
For some self funded retirees, the amount of financial support offered by a Home Care Package after means testing could be significantly less than expected.
This is where it can get confusing - and providers of support services in the home are very motivated for you to understand this.
Understanding the out of pocket cost will help older Australians work out if waiting for a Home Care Package makes sense, and whether Home Care Package services could be augmented with privately funded care.
Take advantage of motivated providers
New providers in the market need to educate their clients for 2 reasons:
1. Increased flexibility in Home Care Packages means more choice - and this can be confusing. Helping older Australians and their families understand how to make the most of this choice is good for business.
2. By understanding the impact of means testing on the out-of-pocket costs of a Home Care Package older Australians can more easily make decisions on taking up other private services.
Home Care providers want older Australians and their families to understand their care options and the outcome of government means testing for these reasons.
Why not take advantage?