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How far can a home care package stretch?

Ageing at home is easier to achieve with increased numbers of home care packages, but maximizing your value needs an understanding of the rules and comparison of fees.

For most people, home care is the preferred aged care option because it may allow you to age well while continuing to stay in your own home. But while it might be your preference, it is not always the best option.

Understanding how home care might work for you, needs a reality check around waiting times, adequacy of the care available and costs.  Understanding fees and financial implications should be at the top of your research checklist.

What fees apply?

There are four levels of home care packages.   Level 4 is the highest and gives you an annual budget of up to $57,378* to spend.  Some of this is your contribution, but most is paid by the government.

At just over $1,100 per week, this may seem like a lot of money, and it is, but not all of the budget is used to directly pay for your care.  You first need an approved home care provider to manage the package – and they charge management fees which come off the top of your available budget.  Then there are fees for the care service and perhaps staff travel time.

Providers can set their own fees, so compare fee schedules across providers.  Competition and legislative changes have reduced these management fees, but you could still be using 20-25% of your package before you even start to receive any care services.

How far can the package stretch?

Let’s look at a case study for Athol who is approved for a Level 4 package.  He has a budget of $2,206 per fortnight ($57,378 per year) to spend.  Depending on his assessable income, Athol pays the first $157-$609 per fortnight and the government pays the rest.

Assume Athol and his family chose a provider that charges $441 per fortnight for management.  This uses 20% of the budget.  If care services are charged at $70 per hour, his remaining budget may be enough to fund just under 2 hours of care per day (less if charged for travel time).  The provider may also charge varying prices for peak times, weekends or night-time services.

How to evaluate your options

A good place to start is with a family conversation to discuss what support your family can provide.  Then review the financial implications.  This is where we can bring our experience and expertise.  Call us on 1300 127 284 to make an appointment.

Factual Advice Warning: Any information provided in this website is purely factual in nature and does not take into account your personal objectives, situation or needs. The information is objectively ascertainable and is not intended to imply any recommendation or opinion. This does not constitute financial product advice under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).

* Rate applicable until 19 September 2022