Below you’ll find answers to a number of common questions:
I’m an existing Home Care Package consumer, what will change for me?
If you’re already receiving support services through a Home Care Package and you’re happy with your service provider, then nothing will change. Your care at home will continue just like before the launch of the Home Care Reforms.
Because the Government funding is now linked to consumers, and no longer to service providers you can change providers is you’re not happy with the services you receive or if you move to a different area.
I have been approved for a home care package but have not started receiving services yet. How will these changes impact me?
Under the new Home Care Package system, packages are no longer allocated to providers but are allocated to consumers. This means that once you have been approved for services, you can choose any provider you like to provide your care.
The Government will advise you when a suitable package becomes available. As soon as this has been confirmed you can start looking for services.
What is an approved provider?
An approved provider is an organisation that has been approved by the Government to manage and provide aged care services. It will liaise with you about your requirements and preferences for care.
Only approved providers can manage the delivery of care and Government subsidy payments but they don’t have to the ones delivering the care. Some approved providers may outsource certain services or you may prefer to use a provider that is not supported by the Government.
Are services going to cost any more?
There are no changes to the fee structure of the Home Care Package program or the income tested fee, which helps determine how much you’ll be asked to contribute yourself, so there should be no changes in how much you pay for services.
What happens if there is no Home Care Package available straight away?
If you have been approved for a Home Care Package but no suitable packages are available straight away you will be placed on a national waitlist.
You may be able to access interim services at a lower Home Care Package level than you have been assessed for or receive temporary assistance through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme until a suitable package becomes available. Or you may choose to use fund your own home care through a private provider until you can access Government funded support.
How does the waitlist work?
From 27 February all available packages are managed through a national pool. After approval for a Home Care package you will be placed on a waitlist until a suitable package becomes available.
Your place in the queue will depend on your personal needs and circumstances and the time you have been waiting for care since assessment.
It can sometimes take weeks or even months before a package at your approved level becomes available.
When you reach the front of the queue and a package is assigned to you, you can begin to receive care from the provider of your choice.
What does ‘exit fee’ mean and how much is it?
If you choose to change service providers and take your Home Care package elsewhere, your existing provider may charge ou an exit fee to cover any administrative costs. These will be deducted from any unspent funds of your allocated budget.
Exit fees may vary between providers. The amount should be clearly stated on the Home Care Agreement between you and your service provider.
How can I change providers?
Once you have found a new provider, you will need to contact the Government to re-activate your referral code. Your new provider will need those details to access your information before delivering services.
When you have decided on another provider, you need to tell your current provider you no longer wish to use its services.
Discuss with your current provider what your needs are and agree on a cessation day for your home care services. Your provider must continue to provide care up until that date. Your provider does have the right to charge an exit fee on termination which you will need to factor into your budget.
The start date for the new provider must be on or after the day you stop using your existing provider so there is no gap in care.
What happens if I use up all my annual budget before the end of the year?
If you use up your individual funding amount before the end of the year, you will have to pay for any home care services you would like to still receive out of your own pocket for the remainder of the year, or choose to go without.
Where can I find service providers?
DPS Publishing has improved the Home Care section on its free online directory and information resource AgedCareGuide.com.au/home-care. Here you can search for providers in your local area and see what services these providers deliver.
Simply type in where you live or your postcode, and use the drop down menu to search for local providers of home care packages, respite care, day centres, dementia services, speech therapists, podiatrists and much, much more. The website also delivers comprehensive information about home care services and you can make bespoke searches suitable for your needs.