Changes to the aged care system begin tomorrow
From 1 July, a range of important changes to the aged care system come into effect.
The changes will give older Australians more choice, more control, and more of the services they might need to stay in their own home for longer.
With around 3.5 million Australians needing some form of aged care by 2050, fundamental changes are needed now to ensure the aged care system is sustainable and puts control back into the hands of consumers.
Changes starting from 1 July include:
- More support for older people to stay independent and in their own home through more home care packages to meet their needs.
- People will have greater choice and flexibility for how they pay for accommodation and services, whether it is a refundable accommodation deposit, a daily accommodation payment, or a combination of both, with 28 days to decide how they would like to pay.
- Transparent accommodation prices and services, with all residential aged care providers required to publish the maximum amount they charge for accommodation and extra services, giving older people and their families more choice and transparency in what providers charge.
- A new means test in residential care will help determine a person’s fair contribution, if any, to their care and accommodation, based on both their assets and income. New means test arrangements will also apply to home care.
- New capping arrangements will help make the system more affordable overall for individuals. A $25,000 annual cap to means tested care fees in residential care will be introduced, and caps will also be in place for home care, set at $5,000 a year for part pensioners and $10,000 a year for self-funded retirees. A $60,000 lifetime cap on means tested care fees across both home and residential care will limit the total cost an individual will spend on their care overall.
Most people don’t start thinking about, or looking for, aged care services until something happens – such as a fall or adverse health event.
But it’s important to start an early conversation about what care options are available to you or a loved one, because this will help ensure older people get the support and care they need to keep them safe and living independently, or to find the residential aged care setting that’s right for them.
The most important thing older people and their families can do is learn about the choices available, so they can plan and make the right decision.
Consumers will now have access to an unprecedented level of information through the My Aged Care gateway, where people can compare prices and features in the one place.
They can also use an online fee estimator for an idea of what they can expect to pay for their care.
People can contact the My Aged Care gateway on 1800 200 422 to speak to a real person, or visit www.myagedcare.gov.au
I will be monitoring the impact of the aged care changes closely, and will be listening to the feedback given to me from both providers and consumers.
I am confident we can work together to deliver a sustainable system providing quality aged care to older Australians into the future.
Media interested in covering the changes are encouraged to visit http://www.dss.gov.au/aged-care-media-hub