Shepparton Villages incoming chief executive Kerri Rivett said there would be a number of changes to aged care from July 1.
Goulburn Valley residents may face paying higher residential aged-care fees from next month when significant changes to the industry come into effect.
From July 1, residential-care fees at aged-care facilities will be means tested on assets and income, rather than just income.
This means homes will be included in means testing for the first time and if they are sold before entering care, the proceeds will be included as part of the means testing.
However, if the home is retained and a family member or dependent does not live in it, the value will be capped at $154,179.
Shepparton Villages incoming chief executive Kerri Rivett said the changes would likely affect a lot of people entering residential care, as many would sell off their home before moving in.
The changes will not affect anyone presently in aged care or entering care before July 1.
The basic daily fee – which all residents pay to cover living costs, such as meals, power and laundry – will not be affected.
Ms Rivett said the new changes would mean people who could afford to would contribute towards their residential accommodation and care costs.
“As of July 1, everyone who has the means to pay will have to pay for their accommodation, regardless of whether they’re in low care or high,” she said.
However, the fees will be capped yearly and in a lifetime, meaning the most that could be charged in residential care is $60,000 in a lifetime, or $25,000 a year.
“Over the lifetime of a person requiring care, they’ll only have to pay $60,000,” Ms Rivett said.
However, the Federal Government will meet part or all accommodation costs for some people.
“If you don’t own a home or don’t have any savings in the bank, you won’t have to pay, you’ll be looked after,” Ms Rivett said.
Ms Rivett said the new fees would depend on individual circumstances and advised people to check with financial experts about how the new changes would affect them.
“If you’ve got assets, go and see a financial planner who specialises in residential care,” she said.
She said all aged-care providers were required to publish their fees on the www.myagedcare.gov.au website.
Another significant change to the system will give new residents three options to pay for accommodation – a lump sum known as a refundable accommodation deposit, a daily charge known as a daily accommodation payment or a combination of both.
Ms Rivett said community home-care packages would also be affected by the changes and people who were eligible would also be subject to income testing based on assets or income, excluding a home.
The fees would be capped at $5,000 a year for people in the community on a part-pension, or $10,000 for on-pensioners.
By Jenna Bishop
As published in the Shepparton News, Friday, June 13, 2014