There are many questions out there about Home Care Packages. Are Home Care Packages means tested? Are Home Care Packages free? Are home care services covered by Medicare? How much does home care cost? Are home care expenses tax deductible?
Here, we tackle the somewhat complex domain that is Home Care Packages and try our best to answer these questions for you.
How do Home Care Packages work?
A Home Care Package is funded by the government. There are four levels of Home Care Packages, depending on your needs. Level 1 supports people with basic care needs, while Level 4 supports people with high care needs. Home Care Packages fund services to keep you well, safe in your home, and connected to your community. Services may include house cleaning, home maintenance, personal care, nursing services, transport, social support, respite and more. The first step is to apply for an assessment. This can be done online via myagedcare.gov.au or over the phone on 1800 200 422. You will then have a face-to-face assessment in your own home. The assessor will determine your eligibility for government-funded home care services. And, if eligible, which services you’re eligible for. There is a wait time on most Home Care Packages, which is approximately between 6 and 12 months. However, the Royal Commission into Aged Care heard wait times can be up to 18 and 24 months.
Are Home Care Packages Means Tested?
Now we come to the costs. Many people want to know “Are Home Care Packages free?” Or “Are Home Care Packages Means Tested?” Knowing how much you need to pay is an important factor when deciding what aged care services suit you best. When applying for a Home Care Package, some people, such as those who are self-funded retirees, may be required to have an income assessment. Others, such as people who receive a means-tested pension, may not require an income assessment. This is usually because the government already has enough information on file to complete the income assessment. There are three types of fees that you may be required to pay, depending on your circumstances. One is a basic daily fee, which many people pay as a percentage of their pension. Another is an income-tested fee, which is based on your income and financial assets. There are annual and lifetime caps that may apply to the income-tested care fee. The third fee may be for additional services. This is for people who have agreed to pay for additional services that wouldn’t otherwise be covered in their Home Care Package.
How Much Does Home Care Cost?
In addition to the fees above, other home care costs are those charged by your Home Care Package service provider. Home care providers determine their own charges for their services. Prices will vary between home care providers, so it’s worthwhile comparing a few. As well as comparing the cost of services, also compare care management costs, package management fees, and exit fees. To start you on the comparison path, visit https://simplyhelping.com.au/ to learn about our home care services. Or click here to contact us for pricing on the services you need.
Are Home Care Services Covered by Medicare?
Medicare is Australia’s overarching health care system to help Australians with the cost of health care. Medicare will partially or fully cover the costs of seeing your doctor (GP) or specialist, tests and scans, surgery and procedures, eye tests by optometrists, mental health professionals, and some medicines. Medicare does not usually cover home care services or home nursing. The government funding for home care services comes via Home Care Packages. There is also entry level support, known as the Commonwealth Home Support Programme. Or short-term support known as Transition Care which helps you recover at home after a hospital stay.
Are Home Care Expenses Tax Deductible?
Prior to 1 July 2019, the Australian Tax Office did allow claims for a net medical expenses tax offset. You may still be able to claim this offset for income years 2015-16 to 2018-19. Claims for this offset are for net eligible expenses for disability aids, attendant care, and aged care. The net eligible expenses are the total eligible expenses minus any refunds you received from the NDIS or your private health insurance. This tax offset is also income tested, and has been phased out as of 1 July 2019. If you think you may be eligible to claim this offset for previous years, your tax accountant is the best person to speak with.