In Demystifying Home Care Part 1, we looked at what options are available for home care; how to access these; what is a Home Care Package; and what to consider when selecting a provider. Part 2 is going to delve into the world of finance, fees, and what is included in your Home Care Package
How many hours of Care are included in my Home Care Package?
So if you decide to investigate government-subsidised care and are eligible for a package what exactly is included? And how much? Well, as discussed last week the different levels of packages provide different amounts of care and associated funding. As a rough guide the different HCP's equate to the following:
Level 1 (Basic Level of Care) approximately 2 hours of care per week/$308.56 per fortnight
Level 2 (Low Level of Care) approximately 3-4 hours of care per week/$561.25 per fortnight
Level 3 (Intermediate Level of Care) approximately 7-9 hours of care per week/$1233.95 per fortnight
Level 4 (High Level of Care) approximately 10-13 hours of care per week/$1875.85 per fortnight
The hours of care that you receive will depend on 3 main things:
1. How much the provider charges for your package administration, care planning and management fees.
2. How much the provider charges for each hour of care you receive.
3. How much you contribute to your package by paying the Basic Daily Fee (more on this later).
Can I use my Home Care Package for anything other than Hours of Care?
Yes! Funds can be spent on most things that relates to your care and well being. Examples include (but are not limited to):
- Basic Garden and Lawn Maintenance
- Meal Preparation
- Home cleaning
- Transport to and from appointments
- In-home respite care
- Personal alarm monitoring
- Exercise programs and classes
- Purchase or hire of some equipment and paying towards modifications at home
- Internet access and computer equipment
It's worth mentioning that there are some things that are specifically NOT included in your HCP. Items excluded include:
- Day to day bills
- Mortgage or rent Payments
- Any other items that are being included in other Australian Government subsidised programs.
What is the Basic Daily Fee?
The Government allows providers to charge a basic daily fee. Different providers charge different basic daily fees. Some providers have no fee and some use a sliding scale. The maximum you can be charged is $10.10 per day, which is equal to 17.5% of the full Age Pension. You can and should negotiate with your provider about what basic daily fee you pay. This fee is put back into your package to use towards more care services.
What is an Income Tested Care Fee?
If your income is above a certain amount, you must pay an income-tested care fee. Your income-tested care fee is assessed by Centrelink and increases the higher your income is. The government subsidy for your package is reduced by the same amount as your income-tested care fee. The income-tested care fee is the same no matter what level of package you are on. This means that if you are on a partial pension or are a self-funded retiree you may get more value and flexibility with your care by not using a Home Care Package (particularly if you are assessed at Level 1 or 2).
If you have any questions visit us at www.thecareside.com.au or call one of our friendly team on 1300 85 40 80.