Navigating the Complexities of Aged Care Accommodation Costs in Australia

Published: January 17, 2024
Navigating the Complexities of Aged Care Accommodation Costs in Australia

The decision to transition into aged care accommodation is a significant life event, accompanied by many considerations, one of the most crucial being the associated costs.

As individuals explore the prospect of permanent residential care, it becomes imperative to comprehend the intricacies of fees involved and the potential government assistance available.

This comprehensive guide aims to elucidate the various facets of aged care accommodation costs in Australia, shedding light on the fees, government contributions, and how individuals can navigate this complex financial landscape.

Understanding the Basics of Aged Care Accommodation Costs

When contemplating a move to an aged care home for permanent residential care, one must delve into the fees associated with this transition.

Before choosing the aged care facility, individuals are advised to thoroughly analyse their financial situation and care needs. This preliminary step can significantly influence the decision-making process and aid in selecting the most suitable aged care home.

Factors Influencing the Cost of of Aged Care Accommodation

Several factors play a role in determining the costs associated with aged care accommodation:

1. Income and Assets Assessment: Income and assets are assessed as part of the aged care means assessment. This evaluation establishes the individual’s financial standing and eligibility for government assistance.Exploring Residential Aged Care Fees and Options

2. Level of Care: The specific level of care required influences the fees incurred. Individuals with higher care needs may incur additional costs.

3. Choice of Home: Different aged care homes have varying fee structures. The choice of the facility directly impacts the overall costs.

Government Contribution in of Aged Care Accommodation Costs

The Australian Government actively subsidised aged care homes nationwide to make quality care more accessible and affordable. Subsidies and supplements, provided directly to the aged care home, are contingent on assessing the individual’s ongoing care needs. Moreover, if the means assessment indicates a reduced capacity to pay, the Government augments its contribution accordingly.

Types of Aged Care Accommodation Fees

Permanent care in an aged care home encompasses various costs, including:

1. Care and Accommodation Costs

Basic Daily Fee: This fee covers day-to-day services and is paid directly to the aged care home.

Means Tested Care Fee: A contribution determined by a means assessment.

Accommodation Costs: Contributions toward room expenses based on means assessment.

2. Other Costs

Additional Service Fees: Charges for services beyond the minimum care and service requirements.

Extra Service Fees: Applicable to homes offering higher-standard services, often in upgraded hotel-type rooms.

Understanding Basic Daily Fee

The basic daily fee is a universal charge that applies to all residents. It covers essential services such as meals, cleaning, facilities management, and laundry.

This fee is paid directly to the aged care home, typically fortnightly or monthly. Calculated at 85% of the single-person rate of the basic age pension, the basic daily fee is subject to updates on March 20 and September 20 each year, aligning with age pension increases. As of the latest information available, the maximum basic daily fee is $60.86 per day or $22,213.90 annually.

Means Tested Care Fee

The means-tested care fee is an additional contribution determined through a means assessment. This ongoing fee is allocated to cover personal and clinical care costs. Individuals may face a means-tested care fee ranging from $0 to $400.08 daily. It is crucial to note that this fee is not fixed and may change over time based on financial circumstances.

Means Tested Care Fee Eligibility and Caps

An online fee estimator can determine eligibility for a means-tested care fee. An individual may need to complete a means assessment to ascertain the exact amount. Annual and lifetime caps are in place for the means-tested care fee, preventing individuals from being asked to pay beyond specified limits.

As of September 20, 2023, the maximum means-tested care fees are capped at $32,718.57 per year or $78,524.69 over a lifetime. Additionally, any income-tested care fee paid while receiving home care is counted towards these caps upon transitioning to an aged care home.

Accommodation Costs

Every individual entering an aged care home must agree on a room price in writing with their provider before entering care. The payment of this agreed amount is contingent on the means assessment:

1. Not Eligible for Government Assistance (Not Low Means): Individuals pay the agreed room price as an accommodation payment.

2. Eligible for Government Assistance (Low Means): The Government directly contributes to some or all the accommodation costs to the provider. Individuals may be asked to pay an accommodation contribution if the Government does not cover the total amount. Services Australia determines this contribution based on income and assets and is not dependent on the agreed room price.

Accommodation Payment Options

Individuals have three options for paying their accommodation costs

1. Refundable Lump Sum Amount: A one-time payment, refundable upon leaving the aged care home.

2. Non-refundable Daily Payments: Regular payments are made on a daily basis.

3. Combination of Both: A hybrid approach combining lump sum and daily payments.

Government Contribution Based on Means

The Government’s financial assistance is contingent on the individual’s means, with varying levels of support based on income and assets. As a general guide:

1. Income Below $32,331.00 and Assets Below $58,500: The Australian Government covers accommodation costs.

2. Income Above $81,063.32 or Assets Above $197,735.20: Full accommodation costs are the individual’s responsibility, with negotiations and agreements made with the aged care home.

3. Partial Government Assistance: If partial payment is required, Services Australia or the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) determines the contribution based on means assessment, and the Government covers the remaining costs.

These income and asset thresholds are subject to annual indexation on March 20 and September 20 of 2023.

Additional Service and Extra Service Fees

Apart from the government-regulated fees, there are additional costs that may be incurred based on the aged care home’s offerings:

1. Additional Service Fees: Fees for services exceeding minimum care and service requirements.

2. Extra Service Fees: Charged by aged care homes with “extra service” status, offering a higher standard of hotel-type services.

This fee covers a bundle of extra services. If an individual agrees to enter an extra service room, they must pay this fee, regardless of whether all services are utilised.

The provider determines the fees for extra services and is not subsidised by the Government.

Navigating Fees

Understanding the intricacies of aged care fees is crucial for informed decision-making. The following steps can aid individuals in navigating this complex landscape:Aged Care Budget Estimator

1. Fee Estimator: Utilise the fee estimator to estimate the basic daily fee, means-tested care fee, and potential government assistance with accommodation costs.

2. Find a Provider Tool: Explore available rooms and associated costs using the Find a Provider tool just like CARE360.

3. Income and Assets Checklist: Understand the financial information considered in the means assessment.

4. Means Assessment: If an accurate cost breakdown is desired, a means assessment is necessary, considering income, assets, and homeownership status.

Different procedures exist for means assessments based on homeownership status and whether one receives a means-tested income support payment.

5. Annual and Lifetime Caps: Be aware of the caps on means-tested care fees and how they impact ongoing costs.

The caps are updated on March 20 and September 20 each year, with the applicable amounts being those in effect when an individual reaches them, not at the time of entering care.

Consider any income-tested care fee paid while receiving home care, as it is counted towards these caps upon transitioning to an aged care home.

6. Accommodation Payment Options: Understand the implications of different accommodation payment methods on ongoing costs and pensions.

7. Financial Hardship Assistance: In cases where affordability becomes a challenge, individuals can seek financial hardship assistance for basic daily fees, means-tested care fees, and accommodation costs.

Financial hardship assistance does not apply to extra service fees, additional service fees, or multi-purpose services.

Seeking Financial Advice

Finding an Appropriate Aged Care Provider ? his is where Care360 excels. As Australia’s premier aged care placement service, we are committed to aiding families throughout their aged care journeys.

Leveraging our tailor-made software, we match you with current residential aged care vacancies or home care package providers that align with your budget, location, care requirements, and personal preferences.

We then create a customised aged care Options Report at no cost, with zero hassle or stress on your part.

Streamline your aged care options comparison by accessing all necessary information conveniently.

We do not receive any funding from aged care homes. All our data is independently collected and reviewed. Get Our Quality of Care Report is currently available to you at no cost.

Care360 is funded by the fees paid for our consulting services and referral fees from our finance and real estate partners. While all of our partners have been thoroughly reviewed, you are under no obligation to use them at any stage. If we are receiving any referral fees, this will be made known to you at the time as part of our Transparency Promise.

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