9. Should Self Funded Seniors accept a Level 2 Home Care Package?
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You are a self-funded senior who has been approved for a Level 4 Home Care Package but only assigned (offered) a Level 2 Home Care Package, should you accept the Level 2 Home Care Package or just wait for a Level 3 or 4 Home Care Package? This is one of the most frequently asked questions we are asked by self-funded Elders. Let’s explore the different factors to consider so you can make the decision that is right for you.
Should Self-Funded Seniors accept a Level 2 Government Funded Home Care Package?
Self-funded Elders will be given various answers to this question depending on who they are talking to and what assumptions have been made. Advice will range from:
- “it is cheaper just to pay privately”; to
- “definitely accept the Level 2”.
The right answer for you depends on your circumstances, so let’s do the maths together for Daughterly Care clients because we have made some changes recently to make a Level 2 Home Care Package more financially rewarding for a self-funded senior. We will also explore the factors that can affect your decision.
Is there a financial benefit from a Level 2 Home Care Package for self-funded seniors?
Quick answer: with Daughterly Care Community Services it IS worth accepting a Level 2 Home Care Package and if a couple has 2 Home Care Packages, we can make it worth your while even more.
Level 2 Home Care Package financial viability for a self-funded Elder (correct from 1/7/2019 to 20/9/2019)
- fully self-funded senior;
- not entitled to a cognitive or DVA 11.5% supplement; and
- Daughterly Care does NOT charge the Maximum Basic Daily Care
|Annual Level 2 Home Care Package Government Funding||$15,457.75 pa|
|Less: Government doesn’t pay an amount equal to the Income Tested Care Fee for self-funded senior||(- $11,012.99 pa)|
|Equals: the Real Annual Level 2 Home Care Package funding for a self-funded Senior||= $4,444.76 pa|
However, you need to deduct any fee charged by your Approved Provider for administering the Government’s Home Care Package Program and case managing care.
So in Daughterly Care’s case that is 16%pa of the Level 2 Home Care Package i.e. $15,457.75 X 16% = $2,473.24pa
So, the actual financial benefit from the Government after ALL costs is $4,444.76 – $2,473.24 = $1,971.52pa
So, the amount available to spend on care or services is:
$15,457.75 – $2,473.24 = $12,984.51
divided by 52 weeks = $249.70 per week.
So, your Government Subsidised Level 2 Home Care Package through Daughterly Care will provide $249.70 per week of care.
For that benefit of $12,984.51 you have paid $11,012.99 annual Income Tested Care Fee / 52 weeks = $211.79. (The Income Tested Care fee is calculated daily and charged monthly and is $30.25 per day).
So, it has cost the self-funded elder $211.79 per week to receive a benefit worth $249.70….yes, I agree….for Self-Funded Seniors, it is not a great financial benefit from accepting a Level 2 Home Care Package however each year you are one year closer to reaching your Lifetime Cap when you stop paying an Income Tested Care Fee.
Now you can understand why if a Senior just wanted ad hoc in home care from time to time we advised against accepting a Level 2 Home Care Package.
Other factors to consider
Does Accepting a Level 2 mean you will be offered your Approved Level 3 or 4 Home Care Package Faster?
We cannot answer this question with proof, the impression given by My Aged Care is that it makes zero difference. However does accepting the Level 2 Home Care Package give a heavier weighting in the Government’s Home Care Package Allocation Algorithm and therefore mean you are more likely to receive your Level 3 or 4 Home Care Package quicker? We have seen that happen numerous times, though it may have been a co-incidence and we can’t prove it.
However let me share with you the experience of an Elder recently.
His wife has very high care needs so she was Approved for a Level 4 Home Care Package with a Medium Priority because:
- they were getting some funding under the CHSP Program and paying for Private Care with Daughterly Care; and
- the husband in his 80’s was providing most of the care.
His wife was offered a Level 2 Home Care Package however the husband declined this as it was not a sufficient financial benefit, given they were just self-funded.
After a year or so his wife had declined and was bed bound. The loving husband was turning her every few hours during the night and beyond exhaustion and then their CHSP Funder dropped their care from 12 hours a week to 2.5 hours a week with little notice. (That CHSP Program was never supposed to provide that many hours of care. All CHSP Providers are going through their client lists and bringing their hours into line with the way CHSP is supposed to work).
Beyond exhausted and now with 10 hours less help a week the husband requested that his wife be re-assessed from Medium to High priority for her Level 4 Home Care Package. ACAT showed him their assessment book which said that a Home Care Package recipient cannot be re-assessed from a Medium to High Priority IF they have declined the offer of an Interim Lower Package.
His request for a priority upgrade was based on increased care needs with his wife needing to be turned at night, 10 hour drop in help per week and his utter exhaustion. But the rules given to ACAT are that their past decision to reject the Level 2 make that impossible. So he had to go back on the waiting list for a Level 2, accept it when assigned and THEN request a re-prioritisation for her Level 4. Crazy I know.
So….after learning this I am advising that we have reduced our Total Home Care Package Fee from 20% to 16% for a Level 2 Home Care Package to make it more worthwhile financially for ALL our clients (Pensioners and Self-Funded) to accept a Level 2 Home Care Package because if a major change happens I want Daughterly Care clients to be ABLE to be re-assessed from Medium to a High Priority for their Level 3 or 4 Home Care Package that they are waiting on, when their care needs have BECOME genuinely High Priority.
What about the Lifetime Cap for the Income Tested Care Fee?
If you needed 4 hours of care every week, which is what your Level 2 Home Care Package pays for then you would have bought private care, which costs more than the Income Tested Care Fee but NOT reduced your Annual or Lifetime Caps.
So, by accepting the Level 2 Home Care Package…you are $37.91 better off a week and you are reducing your Lifetime Cap faster. When you reach your Lifetime Cap – you stop paying the Income Tested Care Fee, which is a saving of $11,012.94 pa. It takes 6 years to reach your Lifetime Cap.
Whereas if a self-funded client bought private in-home care for 2 years whilst waiting to be assigned their Level 3 or Level 4 Home Care Package, because they have paid privately, they will not have reduced their Income Tested Care Fee Annual Cap at all.