Improving home care pricing information

Page last updated: 08 July 2019

Background

Senior Australians and their families have raised concerns and complaints on the lack of transparency and comparability in home care pricing information, and also the high administration prices being charged by some providers.

These issues have been raised through a variety of channels, including through the Legislated Review of Aged Care 2017.

A policy roundtable was convened in March 2018 comprising key sector representatives, including peak bodies, and consumer and home care provider representatives.  The roundtable provided on a proposed approach.

In early July 2018, all home care providers were advised of a phased approach to improving pricing transparency and comparability.

The phased approach ensures immediate benefits for senior Australians to improve the availability of pricing information, and provides sufficient time for home care providers to adjust the changes and undertake necessary transition activities.

Improving home care pricing transparency

All home care providers were required to publish their current pricing information on the My Aged Care Service Finder by 30 November 2018. The Department monitored provider’s compliance with this requirement, and undertook follow-up action, as appropriate.

This requirement improved the transparency of pricing information, but was replaced on 1 July 2019 with further improvements.

Improving the transparency and comparability of home care pricing information

By 1 July 2019 all home care providers were required to publish their pricing information in a new standardised home care pricing Schedule (the Schedule) on the My Aged Care website.

The Schedule provides information on the common services and costs under a home care package, to better support people to understand and compare home care pricing information.

The Schedule has been developed following extensive consultation with senior Australians and their families, home care providers, consumer representatives and peak bodies.

By 1 July 2019, providers must also publish their full price list i.e. all pricing information in the schedule as well as information about all the services and costs the provider offers. Providers must do this via either:

  • Uploading a document such as a PDF, or
  • Including a website URL link directly to their full price list.

Home Care Providers are required to keep all of their pricing information on My Aged Care up to date and review it at least once every 12 months.

Home Care Providers will also be required to undertake the following for new clients from 1 July 2019, and for existing clients, before 1 July 2020:

  • Print a copy of the pricing Schedule and include it within each client’s Home Care Agreement, noting that existing clients Home Care Agreements can only be changed through mutual consent, following consultation.
  • Charge client’s the price in the schedule that is included in their Home Care Agreement. In limited circumstances, if a provider needs to charge a different amount for a particular service, they will need to discuss and agree this amount with their client and detail the different price and the reason within their Home Care Agreement.
  • Change their existing administration charging practices, as they will no longer be able to charge separately for business-related costs. If providers wish to charge for these costs, they will need to be included within the price for care and services, to ensure people can see the all-inclusive costs for delivering the service. For more information, please refer to the 'Resources' section below.

All of these changes will enable people to better understand and compare common services and costs across home care providers and make a more informed decision about which provider is best suited to deliver their care.

Providers were made aware of these new requirements in July 2018, and have been provided further advice and support throughout 2019.

Further resources to assist providers and consumers with the implementation of these changes are below.

Resources:

More Information

The Department will provide updates through existing channels, including Aged Care provider newsletters.