Oct 25, 2021

Plea to home care providers: “Stop the rorting and introduce pricing caps”

Elderly woman empty wallet

The Aged Care Amendment (Making Aged Care Fees Fairer) Bill 2021, if approved by Federal Parliament, will stop providers from charging any more than 25% in administration for Level 1 and 2 Home Care Packages, and no more than 20% for Level 3 and 4.

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

“Existing legislation just says aged care providers have to keep their management fees and administration costs to a ‘reasonable’ amount, but there are absolutely no guidelines about what ‘reasonable’ looks like.

“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 began drafting her legislation after surveying more than 15,000 residents aged 75 years or older in her electorate, and asking them to provide information about their Home Care Package experiences.

More than 1,200 people mailed back their survey, with one in two respondents saying they were unhappy or unsure about administration fees in their home care packages, and half of those with packages said there had been no change to their package over time, and yet they were still being charged the same ‘management’ fee.

Nearly one in three survey respondents were still waiting for a home care package and one-third had been waiting more than 12 months for home care of any level.

“The vast majority of survey respondents, some 94%, said they were unable to afford daily care, which I find staggering,” Rebekha said.

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

“Some of these people were only able to afford one hour of cleaning or gardening a fortnight, and their care plans have hardly changed from one year to another, but they were still being charged up to 50% in administration fees.

“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.”

The Bill will also ban exit fees to change home care providers, and it will require home care providers 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.

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  1. 20 and 25% is still too much, the rorting has been going on since the inception of Home care and no one has done anything about it. It’s perplexing that this needs to be looked at through a private member’s bill… What does that say about the government and opposition?
    Are they okay with ripping off both the tax payer and the recipient… obviously.

  2. Congratulations Rebecca. I have been lobbying for this for years. The ex minister for the aged Ken Wyatt promised me 4 years ago that these fees would be capped. These fees represent financial gouging of the Aged.
    Real estate agents only charge 8% to manage a rental property. Self management is the only way to go at 12 to 14%. No other rip offs either.

  3. Great idea, however, home care providers have sneaky ways to add costs. 10% on invoices, charging $65 per hour up to $96 per hour for home workers, roster fees etc.
    travel costs

  4. If a Private Members Bill is required to deal with this issue it tells you a lot about this Government.

    Do not forget that they fought against Royal Commissions into Aged Care and Banking.

    Zero consumer focus, zero transparency, zero chance they will ever change.

  5. Thanks for your article. I learnt some things from reading it. It is helpful to me as I am currently looking at potential rorting of home care packages on a large organised scale with the possibly unknown help of other large multinational companies who are providing access to the potential clients. This and other issues with the management of home care packages needs to be stopped asap.

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