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Negotiating Fees For a Home Care Package

Home Care Package Fees Vary From Provider to Provider

When the time comes to sign up with a home care provider for a home care package, there’s so much paperwork to get through. This paperwork will include the aged care fees that you’ll have to pay to the provider.

The government subsidy for Home care Packages contributes to the cost of services and care delivery, but it’s an expectation that you’ll contribute to the cost of care and services if you’re able to do so.

The chargeable fees include a basic daily fee, an income-tested care fee, administration fees, and case management fees. Some of these fees are negotiable and some aren’t.

Basic Daily Fee

Your home care provider can ask you to pay a basic daily fee. The fee will depend on which home care package level you’re on. As of 20th September, 2021 the maximum basic daily fee for a home care package level 1 was $9.88. Whereas the maximum basic daily fee for a home care package level 4 was $11.02.

Now, this fee’s usually deducted from your home care package funds. Many providers don’t charge a basic daily fee, or they opt to charge less than the maximum amount chargeable. So, be sure to shop around and find a provider who waivers this fee or doesn’t charge as much. It’s currently not a compulsory fee.

Income-Tested Care Fee

Income-tested care fees are extra contributions that you might have to pay if you can afford to do so. The income-tested care fee is separate to the basic daily fee and is typically not negotiable. There’s a reason for this.

The government subsidy for the home care package gets reduced by the income-tested care fee amount. You, the consumer are expected to pay the income-tested care fee out of your pocket in order to make up the difference of the home care package subsidy.

So, if your receiving a home care package subsidy level 4, your subsidy will be about $143.50 per day. Say that you still earn above the threshold and you have an income test through Centrelink. The test comes back stating that you’ll need to contribute an income-tested care fee. For argument sake let’s make this amount $2.70 per day. This means that the government will contribute $143.50 less the $2.70 to your home care package. So they’ll pay $140.80 per day to the provider, and you’ll contribute $2.70 per day to the provider.

It’s advisable to have an income test prior to signing a home care agreement, so that you’ll know from the onset whether you’ll need to contribute to your package and how much you’ll need to contribute.

old person hand signing document


Additional Fees and Charges

There’s currently a deal of discussion in the media around the amount that home care package providers charge in administration and case management fees.

In order to keep your out of pocket costs down, look for a provider that charges a lower rate or no administration and case management fees. As these fees are typically directly deducted from your home care package funds, you often won’t realise how much it’s eating into your government subsidy.

Essentially, these fees get charged by providers to handle costs associated with managing your home care package and the administration costs associated with that. It’s usually a percentage of the home care package that’s decided by the provider.

But, be sure to ask what’s included in the case management fees and find out if you’re able to get involved in self-managing your package. Self-management of home care packages will significantly reduce your case management and administration fees. On the downside though, there’s more arranging and organising to do on your part, as you’ll be taking on duties that the case manager would typically do when organising your care and services.

You could certainly attempt to negotiate the administration and case management fees. But many providers aren’t negotiable.

Entering Into an Agreement

Finally, it’s always best to search for a number of providers. Ask them to send their fees and charges to you, and really look at which provider has the lowest fees on offer that are still able to meet your care needs and goals.

Shop around for a home care package provider, and don’t sign any agreements until you’re sure of what you’re agreeing too.

It’s always advisable to seek legal advice before you enter into a home care agreement.

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