Living Longer. Living Better.
Living Longer. Living Better – Staying at Home
Key Points:The Australian Government is expanding and improving the support and care options available for older people who want to stay in their own homes.
From 1 July 2012 the Australian Government will directly fund and administer the home support services for older people currently provided under the Home and Community Care (HACC) program in most states and territories. Over the next five years the Government will provide $75.3 million to integrate these services with other Commonwealth programs to create and grow a new Home Support program.
The Government currently funds more than 58,000 Home Care packages. Demand for these packages far outstrips supply, leaving many people forced to wait a long time for care. The Government will more than double the number of Home Care packages available across Australia over the next 10 years – more than 80,000 new packages by 2021-22. The Government is committing $880.1 million over the next five years to expand care in the home, reducing the emphasis on residential care.
New, fairer fee arrangements for Home Care packages will be introduced to ensure that people with similar means pay similar fees, regardless of where they live. A new means tested fee will be introduced in addition to current arrangements whereby care recipients can be asked to pay a basic fee of up to $3,163 per annum. Importantly, the new means tested fee arrangements will include strong safeguards to ensure access to care, including:
- no one will be asked to contribute more than the cost of their care;
- full-pensioners will pay no means tested fee;
- annual caps of $5,000 for part-pensioners and $10,000 for self-funded retirees will apply to the means-tested fee to protect those receiving higher levels of care;
- a lifetime cap of $60,000 on the means-tested fees will protect people who receive care for a longer than average period of time; and
- the Hardship Supplement that exists in residential care will be extended to Home Care packages to ensure that people are fully protected.
Implementation arrangements:On 1 July 2015, the HACC program, the National Respite for Carers Program, Day Therapy Centres and the Assistance with Care and Housing for the Aged Program will be consolidated under a new Home Support program. The Home Support program will have a focus on prevention and reablement as the first level of care in an end-to-end aged care system. The Government will grow this program to meet increasing demand for support at home.
The Government will work with the industry over the next three years to progressively establish the new program. This will include reviewing the range of home support services available, and developing a nationally consistent approach to fees with a focus on equity, access and affordability.
The expansion of Home Care packages will include two new types of packages, one for people with intermediate care needs and one for people with basic care needs. Industry and consumers will be engaged on the design of the two new types of Home Care packages over the coming months. Around 4,900 new Home Care packages will then be offered through the 2012-13 Aged Care Approvals Round (ACAR), which will be advertised later this calendar year. These new Home Care packages will be available to older people from 1 July 2013, and will be offered as Consumer Directed Care packages, building on the success of the recent trial.
New fee arrangements for Home Care packages will begin on 1 July 2014. People who are already receiving a Home Care package on 30 June 2014 (including people who are on leave from a package on that date) will not be subject to the new arrangements until their care changes. While the new fee arrangements will mean some older Australians may be asked to pay more than they do now, there will be arrangements in place to protect people.
Care and support at homeThe Government is delivering on its commitment to make aged care reform a second term priority, with a reform package that provides $3.7 billion over the next five years. These reforms significantly increase and make better use of the Government’s existing investments in care and support at home, which include:
- $6.7 billion over five years for the Commonwealth HACC program for older people;
- $3 billion over five years for the joint Commonwealth-State HACC program in Victoria and Western Australia;
- more than $5.8 billion over five years for home care packages supporting 58,000 packages a year; and
- more than $1 billion over five years for the National Respite for Carers Program.
For more information please visit: www.agedcareaustralia.gov.au
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