Aged care is a specialist type of service and will cost money, but it is worth doing some research to see if there is financial assistance to help pay for the care.
Columbia Aged care Services is happy to provide information on its fee structure and, in many cases, the Australian Government may contribute to the cost of accommodation and care for people who have been assessed as needing care. The amount they will need to pay themselves will depend on their assets and income.
Aged care costs
Aged care homes have several fees and charges, with some fees the same for everyone and some based on income. There is a daily care fee and, in some cases an income tested fee. Some may also be asked to pay an accommodation payment – either an accommodation bond, or an accommodation charge. The government calculates and regulates care fees.
The resident fee is a contribution paid by Columbia residents towards the cost of care, such as nursing and personal care, meals, cleaning and general maintenance. This fee is made up of the following components, however not all fees apply in every case: basic daily care fee, an income-tested amount, a proportion of any amount payable under compensation arrangements, agreed amounts for additional services and any GST payable for those additional services.
Residents receiving respite care will pay a booking fee, which is a prepayment of the daily fees owed, paid to Columbia in advance to secure the required period of respite care. The maximum Booking Fee is the lesser of either: one week’s respite care, or 25 per cent of the total Resident Fees for the respite period.
Basic daily care fee
There are two rates for the basic daily care fee: a pensioner rate and a non-pensioner rate. The pensioner rate is 85 per cent of the base single age pension amount. You are eligible for this payment if you receive an income support payment from Centrelink or the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) and have not paid a bond more than 10 times the amount of the annual single age pension amount, you are receiving respite care, or you have one or more dependent children. The maximum basic daily care fee for pensioners is $31.52 per day and for non-pensioners it is $39.28.
Income tested fee
You will need to pay an income-tested fee in addition to the basic daily care fee unless your income tested amount is less than $1 per day, you have dependent children, you are a full pensioner, you were living in a residential care service between 1 October 1997 and 28 February 1998 inclusive or you are an ex-prisoner of war.
If you are eligible to pay an income tested fee, Centrelink or the Department of Veteran’s Affairs calculates your amount payable on the basis of your private income. The income test applied is 25 cents for every dollar of private income above the pension income test free area. For example, a single part pensioner with private income of $38,755 per annum would pay $24.26 per day and $55.28 per day for a single non-pensioner with private income of $83,920 per annum.
Columbia charges an accommodation payment based on assets a resident holds at the time they enter the home. An assets assessment by Centrelink or by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs will determine whether the resident is eligible for subsidised accommodation costs, and whether they will pay an accommodation bond or charge.
The following high-care residents do not pay an accommodation charge:
- those who first entered permanent care before 1 July 2004 and have already paid daily accommodation charges for a total of five years;
- if paying the accommodation charge would lower your assets to less than the minimum permissible asset value or would cause financial hardship.
The maximum accommodation charge for high-care residents is the lesser of: the amount by which the residents’ assets exceeds the minimum permissible asset value ($33,500) divided by 1,825, or $10.04 a day for assisted residents or $17.55 for any other resident.
For low-care residents, the maximum accommodation bond is between $150,000 and $250,000. The following low-care residents do not pay an accommodation charge:
- if your assets are less than 2.5 times the annual single rate aged pension;
- if paying the accommodation charge would cause financial hardship.
Under the Aged Care Act 1997, aged care homes care for a minimum number of people who need help to pay for their aged care accommodation. These people are known as concessional or assisted residents and they receive extra government subsidies to ensure all residents receive the same standard of care and have equal access to care.
* All fees calculated from 20 September, 2007.
For more information www.columbiaagedcare.com.au