Understanding Home Care Package fees
Home Care Package fees charged by providers now capped
The new caps on Home Care Package fees are good news for older people and families. The changes introduced from 1 January 2023 make the fees charged for managing Home Care Packages more transparent when comparing providers. When less of your Home Care Package funds are eaten up by fees, there are more care hours available for older people. Having an understanding of the fees you may have to pay can help you get value for money from your Home Care Package.
Key changes to Home Care Package fees from 1 January 2023
The government has set new limits on what a Home Care Package provider can charge for managing a Home Care Package.
From 1 January 2023:
- providers must not charge more than 15% of the package level for package management.
- providers must not charge more than 20% of the package level for care management.
- providers cannot charge an exit amount if you choose to end the agreement and change providers.
- costs for third party services must be included in care management, package management or direct service charges. They should not appear as additional charges on a monthly statement.
Some providers may need to change their pricing models as a result of these new rules. Service charges could go up for some providers, for example, if they previously showed third party service costs separately or added exit fees on top. But the new rules help ensure that the published price is the price you pay with no hidden charges.
For clients already on a Home Care Package, you should have been notified by your provider if these changes affected your fees. For many clients there’s no change, when providers’ fees were below these limits already. Consult your Home Care Package care manager for any questions.
Home care package fees explained
When an older person is approved for a Home Care Package, it means the government will pay for home care services up to a defined amount.
- The amount of funding that is approved for each person corresponds to the amount of care needed: level 1, 2, 3 or 4. (Care needs are determined during the ACAS/ACAT assessment.)
- Older people might need to pay a contribution themselves, known as an ‘income-tested care fee’. (The amount of contribution is determined by an income test with Services Australia.)
This government funding for home care is paid to a Home Care Package provider on an older person’s behalf. The Home Care Package provider charges fees to cover their costs of administering the Home Care Package.
- These fees may vary from provider to provider.
This is where it’s important to compare the provider’s fees and services with your budget and needs.
The Home Care Package provider’s fees generally consist of:
Administration/management fees – the cost of managing and processing the package funds. This includes things like engaging contractors, invoicing, correspondence, regulatory compliance, and more, as a core coordinating role. This lets you get on with life and not have to deal with all of the admin.
Now must not be more than 15% of the package level
Care management fees – the cost of reviewing the care plan, ensuring care services are meeting the needs outlined in the plan from the older person’s ACAS/ACAT assessment.
Now must not be more than 20% of the package level
Daily fee – the amount is set by the government and it’s optional for providers to charge this fee.
All Home Care Package fees will be set out in a service agreement that you will sign when starting a Home Care Package with a provider.
Is it worth accepting a Home Care Package?
Whether it’s worthwhile going through all the processes and research to start a Home Care Package depends on an older person’s circumstances. To figure out how many hours of care can be covered, you’d look at these two things:
- Find out what amount of Home Care Package funding you’d be able to use for home care services after any income-tested contribution.
- If you are a full or part pensioner, call Services Australia who can advise of your income-tested fee.
- If you are a self-funded retiree, it’s best to see a financial advisor to find out all about the contribution and fees that apply to your circumstances. Unless you intend on paying the maximum income-tested fee, an income assessment with Services Australia needs to be completed.
- If you’ve determined that the Home Care Package funding amount (minus any income-tested contribution) will help meet your needs, then you consider the HCP provider fees.
- It can be time-consuming and difficult to figure out which Home Care Package provider to choose to give you the services you need within your budget.
Having an experienced home care advocate and health professional to do this for you can save you a huge amount of time and stress.
Empower Aged Care can:
- Help you choose a provider and start a Home Care Package, or
- Start the whole process if you haven’t yet been assessed for a package. We undertake a Holistic Aged Care Assessment, liaise with My Aged Care for you, and manage the arrangements through to starting your Home Care Package.
The caps on HCP provider fees help a lot, but accessing home care is still complicated
It’s good news for older people and families that Home Care Package providers are now obliged to keep fees to a pre-determined limit. When comparing providers, be sure to take note of all the inclusions and any additional charges. Transparency with services and fees is a good sign of a reputable organisation. And if you’re not happy with your provider, you can change.
It’s time-consuming and stressful to research and decide which service provider will meet your or your older loved one’s needs for staying well at home.
Empower Aged Care can do this all for you, from the first approach to My Aged Care, to starting services on a Home Care Package.
What if I haven’t started the process for a Home Care Package?
It’s a multistage process through My Aged Care with a long wait to get a Home Care Package. If you haven’t started, it’s best to reach out to Empower Aged Care as we can manage the whole process and make sure you're getting the right home care services in the meantime.
Book in for our Home Care Assessment and Management. We home visit to families across Melbourne and Geelong.
Have you had your ACAS assessment, or just received your Home Care Package, and need advice?
Book in for help to choose a provider and we can make all the arrangements.