With a growing elderly population, it makes sense that aged care was under the spotlight during the 2019/20 Federal Budget discussions. And with the ongoing Royal Commission into Aged Care, it’s an area of interest and concern for many.
The retirement sector and changes that affect retirees will always receive attention. This is because unexpected changes can have a significant impact on retirement outcomes. It also means that planning for the cost of care in later years becomes integral to the wealth management process and is something that should be considered by all individuals.
So, what were the outcomes for aged care in the Federal Budget 2019/20 and what does this mean for you?
Aged care funding will reach record levels
The various budget announcements relating to aged care has meant an increase of funding to a total of $21.6b across a range of services and initiatives. Helping older Australians remain at home is a priority, however the government has also addressed the need for additional residential aged care places. They are also prioritising greater safety and compliance for existing services and facilities.
There are several support services that help seniors continue to live independently. The government announced an extension to the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) and an increase of home care packages across all levels (1 – 4). The CHSP and home care packages provide funding for personal assistance at home including; personal care, cleaning, companionship, meal preparation, and home maintenance.
What specific changes will we see in aged care?
The budget will extend funding of critical aged care services as well as introduce several new initiatives.
Residential aged care
- Funding for 13,500 additional residential care places
- Introduce mandatory reporting against national residential care quality indicators
Home care packages
- An additional 10,000 home care packages across four levels of support will be progressively funded
- A compliance framework for the home care program will be developed and implemented with increased auditing and monitoring of providers
Commonwealth Home Support Programme
- Funding for entry level support services will be extended to 2020
Dementia and veterans home care supplements
- Increase to supplements to allow those who need additional care to stay in their home longer
- Additional funding for veterans with a mental health condition related to their service
- Funding to assist with extra costs associated with care for those with dementia and other conditions
Royal Commission into Aged Care
Communication from the budget reflected that there would be significant regulatory changes to the aged care sector at the completion of the Royal Commission. These measures will be put in place to ensure a better quality of care for those using aged care services. They include:
- Risk-based compliance regulation and reporting
- Information sharing system
- Address inappropriate use of medication in aged care facilities
- Prepare for introducing the Serious Incident Response Scheme
- Compliance framework for home care
There will also be a review completed to simplify processes required to access home support or residential care.
What does this mean for you?
Although there is some consideration for aged care in federal and state budgets, aged care affordability and accessibility remains a concern. The gap between the funding for services and what it costs to remain at home or in residential aged care is widening.
Regardless of future budget outcomes, seeking advice to navigate the complexities of aged care is important. The personal and financial implications of these decisions can be far-reaching and should be considered as part of a complete wealth management strategy. We help you to make sense of estate planning, cashflow, and aged care costs. Planning in advance helps you make fully informed decisions based on your anticipated needs, without the added pressure of time.