Royal Commission: Hidden Fees Cutting Care

How much of your home care package is going towards your care?

Our previous blog addressed the Royal Commission and its goal to create a sustainable and compassionate aged care system that’s fit for the future.

The latest issue to be highlighted are the difficulties care workers are facing in providing necessary care for their clients, as well as the struggles of accessing funding and coming across hidden costs. We want to dive in and take a closer look at what this means, as well as what you can do to get the best care for your budget.

The long wait for home care packages is forcing some people to enter residential care prematurely because of carer burn out. Clients who could be supported easily at home and continue their way of life are being forced to move just to get access to basic care. Not only is this causing stress and unnecessary costs for clients and their families, but it is placing a strain on the residential care system.

It was recently brought to light in the Royal Commission hearings that 128,495 older Australians are not receiving the home care packages or level of care they had been approved for, causing shocking wait times, rising costs, and a significant lack of care for those in need. This is an experience one of the witnesses, Raelene Ellis, knows all too well.

As published in the Aged Care Guide, Ellis detailed the emotional turmoil faced by informal carers as her 78-year-old mother with dementia was kicked out of a respite facility after being hospitalised for pneumonia. With no support at home, Raelene was struggling to care for her mother while waiting on a long overdue home care package.

She said she has been waiting for a home care package for her mum since 2014, when she noticed a significant decline in her mother’s health. When the family finally got news a Level 4 package was available after waiting almost 3 years, Raelene’s initial sense of relief was met with disbelief and frustration as over $50,000 worth of care equated to only nine hours of support a week.

Current administration fees for some providers may equate up to 38% of the package, meaning that nearly $20,000 of a $50,000 home care package is immediately lost. This means that some clients in need are paying for levels of care they won’t receive – and are suffering in the process.

 Raelene’s story isn’t alone. Many people are waiting on a home care package at their approved level yet still don’t have access to minimal care services. And almost as many are only receiving basic care when they are approved for and require much higher levels.

 In a home care report as of 31st December 2018, there were 73,978 people waiting for their home care packages with no access to care. An additional 53,770 were waiting for care at their approved level but may be receiving a lower level package or minimal care services in the meantime.

 What does this mean?

In some cases, providers aren’t fully transparent with all costs, leading to hidden fees that can quickly eat into a client’s care. Those who have been on the waitlist for a long time can still end up with lower levels of care due to these hidden fees. This could be due to inflated fees that aren’t fully disclosed, or costs for services that a client wasn’t aware of.

A good question to ask that we often get is “how many hours of care will I receive through my package”. This is a great way to compare providers you are choosing from and uncover any hidden costs that may be cutting into your care.

Our [previous blog on planning aged care] can help you make the best decision and avoid these traps. We include tips on what to look for, what to ask, and where to best get professional advice. You can also get in touch with us for more information about our services and what we charge.

Eremea provides you with a solution tailored to your situation, through talented and highly-trained workers and with great cultural understanding. We’re proud of our 5-star rating on Google and Facebook and the Feedback we receive from our clients.

Our carers speak your language, while caring for you in your home.

Read more about our services [here] or get in contact today by calling 1300 118 880.