The key to a successful aged care system is simplicity and affordability. Currently, the system is difficult to navigate due to eligibility rules, charges applied and packages available. The proposed new system would see all service providers and agencies brought together to provide a more streamlined process. This is how it should work.
1. First point of contact is a new “Gateway”. This will be similar to a Commonwealth Carelink Centre and will provide a first step to find information, and arrange an assessment of the care you need.
2. An assessment of your financial position will be arranged by Centrelink and you will be advised of the amount that you will need to contribute towards your care.
3. You will then be given the care options available to you and you can choose to be cared for in your own home or to enter residential care depending on the best option for your needs.
4. Once you have made your choice, you will have to pay for your actual care costs. This will vary depending upon how you have been assessed by Centrelink and you may be asked to pay up to 25 per cent. The amount to be paid will be capped at a lifetime limit of $60,000 (actual amount to be confirmed by Government) and those with limited means may pay nothing at all.
5. Residential accommodation and everyday living expenses will need to be paid for over and above the actual care costs. These can be paid in the form of periodic rental charges, an accommodation bond or a combination of both
6. No-one will be expected to sell their home to pay for these charges. One scheme being considered is a government-backed equity release scheme. When you die, your family or estate will repay the money borrowed. However, should a spouse or child still live in the family home, they would not be forced to sell to repay the debt.
7. Should you decide to sell your home, a proposed pensioner savings account will enable you to keep your money available yet, crucially, it won’t affect your pension eligibility.
For more details on the proposed new aged care model, click here to read the relevant section of Caring for Older Australians.