Comparing the costs from one aged care residence to another can be difficult. While some fees are regulated and require advertising, other fees may come as a surprise.
Finding out extra costs after the fact or at the last minute can cause people emotional stress, financial strain and worry about its affordability.
Read about the fees you should expect as well as other fees to look for and ask about, which are charged in some but not all facilities.
Fees that apply at every government-accredited facility
This is advertised as the Room Price, Accommodation Payment, or sometimes also referred to as the RAD payment.
No matter what you hear, you have choice on how to pay your accommodation cost.
You have three ways you can pay this:
- Lump sum (known as the Refundable Accommodation Deposit – RAD),
- Interest (known as the Daily Accommodation Payment – DAP)
- A combination of these two.
For those with lower amounts of income and assets, the accommodation cost is determined by the government.
Costs for care
There are two fees that apply here:
Basic daily care fee – $50.66 per day until 19 March 2019. No matter how much money you do or don’t have, everyone pays at least this towards their care.
Means tested care fee – If you do have assets and income over a set threshold, you will be asked to pay more than the $50.66 per day. There is an annual cap on this co-contribution, set at $26,985 per year until 19 March 2019. The Federal Government subsidises the cost of care by over $10bn per year (that’s taxpayers’ money hard at work). If you have the means to do so, you’re expected to co-contribute to reduce the government subsidy. Understanding this fee is a topic all on its own.
Additional service fee
Many facilities also charge an additional service fee. This goes by many different names depending on the provider but the purpose is the same. It covers services such as a flat screen TV and Foxtel in your room, use of the cinema in the residence, hairdressing, a la carte-style dining, hot breakfasts and much more, but the services vary from place to place.
Prices range from as low as $10 per day to over $100 per day. Knowing how much this is will be important to compare costs. How you pay for this will be the next question.
Know all the costs
We all will have our own preferences for what we like and don’t like about an aged care facility and sometimes other factors are more important than cost. But even if cost is not a major issue to you, you should be aware of what applies prior to accepting a room.
The challenge the consumer currently has is that it is difficult to accurately compare costs from one place to the next purely by accessing the My Aged Care website.
The aged care reforms aimed for full transparency to make it easier for the consumer but this is currently not the case. Don’t worry though, we’re here to help you get the facts.
Unless you know the providers that do and don’t charge these extra costs, you will be none the wiser at time of enquiry to even think to ask these questions:
- Do they charge additional service fees?
- And if yes, how much?
Don’t forget that these fees are on a per day basis. Per Day.
Don’t be overwhelmed by these extra costs as for many, with the right advice, it often won’t be a financial deal breaker.
If you need help to work out what is the best or most financially viable option for your circumstances, an aged care specialist would be happy to help you through it. You’ll know how much aged care accommodation will really cost and be empowered to make decisions based on accurate fee information.