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Aged Care
Financial advice

What do the changes to aged care mean?

Chris Morcom
Partner/Private Client Adviser
21 Mar 2017

In the ever changing world of retirement, finance and superannuation, it is easy to miss significant changes affecting everyday Australians. One you won’t want to miss is the Government’s Home Aged Care Package measures.

These changes derive from the 2015-16 Federal Budget, where changes were announced with the intention to improve access to home services. This enables older Australians to choose who provides their care while they remain at home.

The first stage of the ‘Increasing Choice in Home Care’ measure was implemented on 27th February 2017. From this date a new process for Australians wishing to access government subsidised in-home aged care services was implemented.

Individual consumers now have Home Care Packages assigned to them, instead of to the aged care provider. This means the consumer can now choose the provider for their care. 

There is also a new National Prioritisation Process for access to aged care that determines the order in which individuals are assigned a home care package, based on need. When a consumer reaches the top of the queue, they will be assigned a home care package.

The new system follows a 5 step process:

  1. Be assessed by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) as being eligible for subsidised home care (at Levels 1 – 4)
  2. Research home care providers in your area and determine costs
  3. Be assigned a Home Care Package
  4. Enter a Home Care Agreement with your chosen provider
  5. Manage your services

What is Hewison’s view on the Home Aged Care Package measures?

Change can be unsettling however significant parts of the home care system remain the same. Existing consumers will continue to receive care and services. Fee arrangements, for those with means, will remain. And finally care arrangements will still be provided on a Consumer Directed Care basis. The major change is that consumers now have greater choice.

As well as putting power back in the hands of the consumer, the home aged care changes have reduced barriers to change providers… particularly if a consumer relocates their home to be closer to family.

With an ageing population, the care for the elderly will continue to be an important policy focus for the Federal Government. The recently implemented changes are intended to provide greater choice for consumers, increased portability of care packages and a more individualised approach to the allocation of care packages.

Fee structures for aged care arrangements will continue to be a focus. Changes to assessment of the family home for age pension purposes after 1 January 2017 (for those entering residential aged care) will require some major decisions from consumers.

Advice from a professional financial adviser with experience in the aged care sector is paramount to ensure older Australians and their families make well founded decisions that do not result in adverse financial consequences.

Financial Advisers at Hewison Private Wealth have extensive experience advising Australians and their families around aged care. If you need advice, please contact one of our Financial Advisers on 03 8548 4800 or email info@hewison.com.au. Hewison Private Weatlh are award winning, independent financial advisers – learn more about how we can assist you www.hewison.com.au 

Please note: The information provided above is general information only and individuals should seek specialised advice from a qualified financial adviser. Please contact Hewison Private Wealth for more information.

Hewison Private Wealth is a Melbourne based independent financial planning firm. Our financial advisers are highly qualified wealth managers and specialise in self managed super funds (SMSF), financial planning, retirement planning advice and investment portfolio management. If you would like to speak to a financial adviser on how you can secure your financial future please contact us 03 8548 4800, email info@hewison.com.au or visit www.hewison.com.auPlease note: The advice provided above is general information only and individuals should seek specialised advice from a qualified financial advisor. The views in this blog are those of the individual and may not represent the general opinion of the firm. Please contact Hewison Private Wealth for more information.