One of the questions that we hear most often at TriCare when it comes to moving into Aged Care is: how much does it cost?
We understand that this knowledge can be important when you’re making big life decisions, so we’ve pulled together this explainer about how Aged Care costs work, and what you can expect when you decide it’s time to move into an Aged Care Residence.
The truth is, there is no simple answer to “how much will Aged Care cost?” – but we will explain how the costs work, what you need to know, and how you can find out what Aged Care fees will apply in your own unique circumstances.
How do Aged Care costs work?
First, it’s important to understand how Aged Care costs work. Moving into an Aged Care residence isn’t the same as renting or buying a home, so the fees are structured differently. And there’s not a simple ‘one size fits all’ price associated with Aged Care because some Aged Care fees and charges are means tested.
The Australian Government applies a means test to some fees to ensure that everyone can access Aged Care if they need it, and that nobody is left behind.
The amount you’ll be asked to pay for Aged Care will depend on:
- the type of care you need
- the provider you choose
- your financial situation
- the services you receive.
Aged Care providers, including TriCare, can provide you with government-subsidised care – which means the government will cover part or all of your costs. We’ll go into more detail in a moment about what Aged Care fees and charges the government helps with, and what they don’t, but first, let’s talk about the different types of care available.
Understanding different types of care
Depending on your own personal experience, you may already have been engaging with subsidised care. If you’ve been assessed for the Commonwealth Home Support Programme, you will have had the government covering some or all of those costs. If you’ve been assessed for a Home Care Package, you will have been assessed to see what government assistance you are eligible for, and asked to cover the rest of the costs.
When you decide you want to enter Aged Care, you will undergo a means test with Services Australia. In order to qualify for any subsidies, you’ll need to submit an Aged Care Calculation with your cost of care form (SA486) to Services Australia. You can complete this form online, print and sign it, and then send it to Services Australia with your supporting documents.
Services Australia will then review your financial situation and determine if you will be asked to contribute toward the cost of your care.
If you want to book in for Respite Care, you may be able to use your Home Care package to cover residential care costs. To determine your eligibility for residential Respite Care, you can call Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737. Commonwealth funding for Respite services is available to eligible persons for up to 63 days each financial year.
Aged Care fees and charges
There are four fees and charges in Aged Care you may be asked to pay.
1. Basic Daily Fee
The Basic Daily Fee is an amount that is designed to cover day-to-day living costs like meals, cleaning, laundry, heating and cooling. That charge doesn’t change – it is set by the Department of Human Services at 85% of the single Age Pension.
Everyone entering an Aged Care Residence is required to pay this fee.
2. Means Tested Care Fee
The Means Tested Care Fee is a contribution that some people may pay towards the cost of their care, which is determined by a means assessment. For most people, Services Australia will conduct the means assessment, but if you receive a means-tested payment from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA), your assessment will be done by DVA.
You don’t have to wait to move into Aged Care before you get your means assessment done. It is valid for 120 days, so you can apply to get it done ahead of time to save you waiting for your assessment.
3. Accommodation Fee
Your Accommodation Fee covers the cost of your room, bathroom facilities, and access to all communal areas. You have three different options when it comes to paying the Accommodation Fee:
- a) RAD (Refundable Accommodation Deposit) – this is a fee paid up-front as a lump sum. You have up to six months to pay, and a DAP (see below) will apply until your RAD is paid.
- b) DAP (Daily Accommodation Payment) – this fee is paid as a regular daily payment, calculated using the Government-approved interest rate.
- c) A combination of Aged Care RAD and DAP – this option provides you with the opportunity to combine the lump sum and daily payment options, so you can pay some RAD up-front and then pay a lower DAP.
4. Additional and/or Extra Services Fee
This fee applies to those who want to access extra hotel-type services, and/or a higher standard of room than basic Aged Care accommodation. This might include premium features such as extra entertainment equipment, pay TV, extra menu options including alcohol, or newspaper and magazine subscriptions.
It’s important to note that the level of care you receive is the same, no matter how much you spend. Extras fees are to cover some of life’s little luxuries for those who want to opt into those.
How to find out the Aged Care costs for your chosen Aged Care Residence
Each provider will communicate their costs in their own way. At TriCare, we believe in being as transparent as possible when it comes to the costs involved at each of our residences across Queensland and Victoria.
You can use our Aged Care calculator on the TriCare website, which allows you to compare costs at all of our residences, as well as calculating how Aged Care costs will be different if you adjust your Aged CAre RAD and DAP fees. You can also download these calculations to share with your family.
Visit TriCare’s fees and charges page to see how the costs might work for you. Click here.
If you’d like to work out how much government support you will get after your income and assets assessment for Aged Care, you can use the My Aged Care fees estimator by clicking here.
What if I can’t afford the Aged Care fees?
If you’re worried that you may not be able to afford to pay for your Aged Care costs, you can apply to My Aged Care to be considered for financial hardship assistance. If you are eligible, the Australian Government will pay some or all of your Aged Care fees.
Can I seek financial advice?
You can ask for financial advice on your Aged Care options, and My Aged Care recommends that you do. Speak to your independent financial advisor, or you can also access free financial information through Services Australia’s Aged Care Specialist Officers (ACSOs) and Financial Information Service (FIS).
Want to know more about how Aged Care fees and charges work?
Our Aged Care Specialist team can talk to you about your individual circumstances and help you to determine what Aged Care costs will apply to you. You can call them on 1300 874 2273, or click below to enquire online.