It is important to have an understanding of Home Care costs and fees as they may vary. Avoiding unnecessary fees can make a big difference to the number of care hours you can access each week. This article explains the type of Home Care fees you may be asked to pay.

What fees will I need to pay?

Fees can vary greatly in amount from one provider to another. But let’s start with the types of fees you can be expected to pay. There are seven fees:

  • Basic daily fee: an amount you pay for every day you are receiving a home care package – from the day your care starts, to the day your care ends. Different providers charge different basic daily fees, ranging from nil to the maximum $10.63 per day (equal to 17.5% of the full age pension). Some providers will waive this fee.
  • Income-tested care fee: payable if your income is above a certain amount. 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.
  • Care fee: the hourly cost for personal care, which varies depending on the type of care required. This amount is set by the Home Care provider.
  • Administration fee: a charge for administering your care plan, including rostering, co-ordination and financial management. This amount is set by the Home Care provider.
  • Case management fee: includes costs of home visits for assessments and reviews and care plan development. This amount is set by the home care provider.
  • Exit fee: may be payable if you leave the provider.
  • GST: The 10% GST is only applicable with self-funded Home Care.

Some providers take almost 50% of your government subsidy in administration and case management fees. That means less money for your care. So when you ‘shop around’, make sure you ask about the administration fee and other ‘hidden’ costs in case management and care fees.

‘If you find a provider is not answering the questions as directly as you believe they should, be wary of signing an agreement. Or contact CareAbout and discuss your concerns with them.’

The best way to ensure you do not get caught is to contact CareAbout, who will help you work out what your needs are, get a clear list of your preferences, and match you with one of their low-fee care partners.

Government assistance

The Commonwealth Home Support Programme and Home Care Package Program provide financial assistance to help people live independently in their own home for as long as they can.

Basic questions to ask

If you talk directly to a Home Care provider, there are many questions you will need to ask them. Many will relate to the services they provide but don’t forget to ask finance-related questions such as:

  • What are your hourly charges? Are there any minimum charges (such as a minimum number of hours per week)?
  • What happens on weekends and public holidays? Is care provided? Is there an additional charge at these times?
  • How is payment made? And how often is it to be paid – weekly or monthly?
  • Are there are any extra charges? If so, what are they?
  • What level insurance do you have in place in the case of damage to property, the carer making a mistake, or even the carer having an accident while in the home (or travelling to and from the home)?

If you find a provider is not answering the questions as directly as you believe they should, be wary of signing an agreement. Don’t hand over your referral code either as this is the same as signing a contract. Contact CareAbout and discuss your concerns with them and get a comparison of fees and service. They have experienced experts who can advise further.

CareAbout can help

If you want help in understanding any aspect of Home Care, including the fees, contact CareAbout.