Important Changes To Aged Care From 1 July 2014

What are the changes?

The changes mainly relate to the fees and charges applicable to Aged Care, which we have detailed below. The removal of High and Low care has also been implemented with Aged Care Assessment now outlining the need for Home Care or Residential Aged Care.

Facilities will need to determine if they will be able to meet the resident’s health concerns. Another initiative is the introduction of the “My Aged Care” website. This is designed to provide information and assistance for families exploring Aged Care via an online interactive and comprehensive website.

All facilities are required to outline their costs on the website also, enabling families to compare costs and charges between facilities in their chosen area. aged-care

What is Home Care?

Home Care as the name suggests, is to provide assistance for people who are continuing to live at home.

The assessment is based on levels 1-4 which reflect the time allocated for services. It does not provide 24 hour care but is designed to assist carers and provide additional services to enable the person to continue living at home. The cost of home care is 17.5% of the basic single Age Pension ($9.57 per day) + an Income Tested Care Fee.

The Income Tested Care fee is subject to assessable income as determined by Centrelink and is capped at $5,000pa for part pensioners and $10,000pa for self funded retirees. An Income Tested Fee is unlikely to apply for residents receiving a Centrelink pension.

What are the fees and charges now for Residential Aged Care?

Accommodation Payment: Previously known as the Bond and now applies to all those entering Residential Aged Care. Payment options include a lump sum known as a Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD) where the full amount will be refunded to the resident or a Daily Accommodation Payment (DAP).

Facilities will advertise both RAD and DAP via the My Aged Care website. Residents can still negotiate fees and facilities may also base fees subject to the person’s assets.

Basic Daily Care Fee: This has remained unchanged from the Basic Daily Care Fee which represents 85% of the Full Age Pension.

Means Tested Fee (MTF): This fee will be calculated daily and subject to the assessable Income and Assets assessed by Centrelink. An annual cap of $25,000 and a lifetime cap of $60,000 apply.

Extra Service or Additional Fee: This fee is specific to a facility or an extra service requested by a resident. For example a facility may offer choice of menu which is considered extra services and will incur an extra daily fee. Additional fees may be in relation to hairdressing offered at a facility, and fees for additional services provided.

What is the impact on Centrelink or Department of Veteran Affairs pensions as a result of the changes? If a resident is in receipt of a means tested payment such as Age Pension, there may be impact on their entitlements as a result of moving into care.

This is subject to the form of payment they make in relation to the accommodation charge, what they may choose to do with the family home and if they are a member of a couple.

What if I have no assets and receive the full rate of Age Pension?

If you have no assets or additional income to fund your care costs you will be classified as a ‘supported’ resident. The Basic Daily Fee will still be applicable however this will be funded from your Age Pension entitlements.

The Government will cover the additional costs in relation to Aged Care. You must complete an Asset and Income assessment to ensure your ‘supported’ status is approved.

For further information, please refer to the My Aged Care website: www.myagedcare.gov.au

Overwhelmed? Muirfield Financial Services can help…

Muirfield Financial Services specialise in Aged Care advice and can assist you and your family in exploring the best strategies when placing a loved one in residential Aged Care.

We can explore the costs applicable to the chosen facility, ways to reduce the means tested fee, maximise Centrelink entitlements, and review the options for the family home. Individual circumstances will influence on fees and strategies and it is important any advice obtained is specific to the person entering care.

We are here to provide peace of mind in ensuring you understand the decisions you make. Please contact our office to make a time with our Aged Care Specialist, Melinda Planken.