Nov 03, 2021

Home care fees capped and exit fees banned under proposed new law

Home care fees capped

If a private members’ bill introduced by the federal member for Mayo, Rebekha Sharkie, is passed, it will stop providers from charging any more than 25% of Level 1 and 2 Home Care Packages on administration fees, and no more than 20% for Level 3 and 4 packages.

“The current system is not working. Senior Australians are not getting the care they really need to stay at home,” said Sharkie.

“So-called competition is not keeping prices down, and some older Australians are paying more than 30% and even up to half their packages in administration fees, or the costs are hidden in inflated hourly rates.

“The government needs to stop the rorting and introduce pricing caps,” Sharkie said.

Sharkie was prompted to draft the legislation after surveying more than 1,200 residents aged 75 years or older in her electorate about their home care package experiences.

  • Half of the respondents said they were unhappy or unsure about the administration fees on their home care packages.
  • Half of those with packages said that despite the fact their package did not change over time, they were still being charged a management fee.
  • Nearly one-third said they were still waiting for a home care package.
  • One-third had been waiting more than 12 months for home care of any level.
  • Almost all (94%) said they were unable to afford daily care.

The results are “staggering,” Sharkie said.

“Many of those surveyed reported paying administration and management fees of up to 48% or 50%, including on packages that are very minimal.

“I cannot fathom how such low value, static packages can continue to incur such ridiculously high administration and management fees. It’s outrageous and it needs to be stopped.

“My Bill will cap fees and it will make more funding available for actual care in the home.”

If passed, the Bill will also ban exit fees when consumers wish to change home care providers.

Another aspect of the Bill is that home care providers will be required to offer potential clients a comparative fee schedule for at least five approved providers in their area. If there are fewer than five providers in the region, the schedule must show fees for all approved providers in the area.

Tell us about your home care experiences. Are you paying high admin fees? Do exit fees stop you from switching providers?

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  1. I find that Ms Sharkie is totally out of touch with the real world as far as providers go. Ms Sharkie obviously hasn’t done her home work in talking to providers enquiring as to how they conduct their business. What she doesn’t know is that the amount of extra burden that is continually being placed on providers has to be costed accordingly because the Government does not provide the extra workforce to do it, would be nice if they would. Providers are finding that they must employ more people to keep up with the burden. A good example of this is the new Improved Payments Arrangement recently imposed, this has increased the providers workload immensely. It is also questionable as to how Ms Sharkie has actually arrived at her percentages and those isolated for the different packages. At the moment the accepted norm is somewhere between 28 to 30 percent for package management and care management, two titled charges imposed by the Government. It is quite obvious that Ms Sharkie has only spoken to recipients of a home care package and not a provider, I would be quite happy to set her straight, she is so far out of touch with the real world it is not funny.

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