Negotiating aged care costs
Did you know that some aged care costs, particularly the Accommodation Payment (or bond or RAD as it is commonly known) are negotiable? The price quoted by the aged care facility is often the maximum amount that the facility can charge. If you want find out what that maximum amount is, the price is listed on the myagedcare.gov.au website. Once you know that price, you can negotiate with the facility to see if they will accept less than the listed price.
A facility’s willingness to negotiate is often a function of supply and demand. If the facility has a long waiting list of people who are willing to pay the asking price, they may not negotiate on the price. But if the facility has a number of beds available, they are usually more willing to accept a lower price. Negotiating is just a matter of asking the simple question ‘Are you willing to negotiate the Accommodation Payment?’ (or RAD as it is often called).
Sometimes, facilities also charge an additional service fee which can range from $5 a day to more than $100 per day. These additional services often include things like daily newspapers, wine with meals, a choice of meals or podiatry or hairdressing services. Facilities may also be willing to negotiate those additional services. Again, it is just a question of asking. Then again there are all the different housing options to consider.
Supported beds for those who cannot afford aged care
If you think you cannot afford aged care, you may be entitled to a ‘supported’ bed. In this case, the government pays a contribution towards the Accommodation cost. This often occurs when a spouse will be remaining in the marital home and the couple’s assets combined are less than about $340,000. It is worth checking whether you are eligible for a supported bed before you start looking at aged care. Whilst it does not mean you won’t be able to move into a fabulous facility, it is it a little harder to find a supported bed.
Negotiating home care packages
Home care provided under a federally funded aged care package (known as a Home Care Package) is also negotiable – both on price and the services that you receive. Whilst many people just engage the provider who first makes contact with the person receiving the package (or their loved one), it is worth shopping around for the best deal. The list of providers in your area is published on myagedcare.gov.au under the ‘Find a Service’ tab.
It is always worth obtaining financial advice from an aged care specialist financial adviser about the costs of aged care. If you need any help understanding or negotiating the costs of aged care, call 1800 500 780 and speak to one of our consultants.
Until next time