Seniors groups cautiously welcome Keating’s HECS for aged care plan

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Seniors groups have cautiously supported the aged funding model proposed to the Royal Commission by former Prime Minister Paul Keating on Monday.

The scheme, which we reported on yesterday, would involve a “use now/pay later” system where seniors are advanced loans for aged care accommodation, which would then be credited back from the person’s estate after their death.

“We’re not forcing anyone out of their home in old age, we’re not obliging aged persons to negatively mortgage their home, you’re not asking members of families to chip in and pay for their relatives in their accommodation or their care,” he told the Commission.

Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association policy manager Paul Versteege told Fairfax while it would safeguard housing security, there was financial risk for government.

“Basically, it sounds like a universal unsecured loan and I’m not sure any government would be able to take that on,” Mr Versteege said.

Council on the Ageing Australia chief executive Ian Yates said it was an idea “worth exploring”, but National Seniors chief Professor John McCallum said it would be a difficult sell.

“I think one of the big factors here… is that there will be a growing inequity across Australian society because of the really unusual growth in the value of houses in certain areas of Australia,” Professor McCallum said.