Government now publishing median prices of home care services – will it force providers to drop their prices?

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The Federal Government has taken the next step towards increasing transparency and information on home care prices with the release of the first quarterly tranche of data on the median prices charged for common home care services.

The data shows the median prices of common services including nursing, in-home respite, personal care, and cleaning and household tasks across metropolitan, regional, rural and remote areas and by State and Territory.

It also includes pricing data for care management and package management.

Check out the data on the Department of Health website here.

Management fees take up 25% of Level 4 funding

As you can see, the care management cost of a level 4 Home Care Package fully managed by the provider has a median price of $299 a fortnight – 52% higher than the cost of self-managing the same package at a median of $142 a fortnight.

However, this means the annual care management fee comes out at 15% of the total package.

The median package management fee for a Level 4 Package is $198 a fortnight – another 10% of the total Package funding.

This indicates that 50% of operators are charging 25% of the recipient’s total funding in care management and package management fees – but half are charging more.

Government says data will heat up prices

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said the information will give consumers and their families insight into the common available prices – and where providers may be charging premium prices.

“We want senior Australians to be able to shop around for their care providers, knowing this will keep downward pressure on prices,” he said.

Home care providers have been required to publish their pricing information in a standardised schedule on My Aged Care since 1 July 2019 after previous Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt called operators out on “excessive” administrative charges.

Providers without pricing referred to regulator

The Department of Health tells us that over 99% of the country’s 849 approved home care providers are now compliant with this requirement – and the remaining eight will be referred onto the regulator, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.

Yet another sign that the Government is looking to ensure home care operators provide real value for money.

Does price always reflect quality however? It is an issue we will discuss in next week’s issue of SATURDAY, in your inbox at 6am on Saturday, 5 June.