How far can a home care package stretch?

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

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 up to $56,400 to spend. Some of this is your contribution, but most is paid by the government.

At just over $1,000 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 services 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 a Home Package Stretch?

Let’s look at a case study for Athol who is approved for a Level 4 package. He has a budget of $2,169 per fortnight ($56,400 per year) to spend. Depending on his assessable income, Athol pays the first $154-$597 per fortnight and the government pays the rest.

Assume Athol and his family choose a provider that charges $434 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 discussion to discuss what support your family can provide. And then review the financial implications. And this is where we can bring our experience and expertise. Call us on 08 7325 3000 to make an appointment.

At Prominent Financial Services, we are passionate about helping you make smart financial decisions about your finances.

Book a FREE discovery call today!

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