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Self-managed Home Care Packages – What You Need to Know

 

Now that you’ve been approved for a Home Care Package, it’s likely that you’ve started looking around for a Home Care Provider to deliver your care and services. One of the important questions that is increasingly being asked when choosing a Provider is, “should I be self-managing my Home Care Package?”

 

The idea of self-management is not new, but in the wake of the Aged Care Royal Commission and media attention on excessive Home Care fees, there has been an increase in the number of providers marketing themselves as a “low-cost” self-managed option.

 

So, what is a self-managed Home Care Package, and what does self-management include?

 

When you receive care and services from your Home Care Provider, there are two main roles that the Provider performs for you

 

1. managing your package funds, and;

2. managing your care.

 

Usually, your provider will charge you a separate fee for each of these, although some providers display both fees together as a single amount. So, what are these different fees for?

 

  • Package Management – package management describes the work your provider does to liaise with the government and manage funds on your behalf. This includes drawing money from the government and setting aside any contributions you make to pay for your care and services. Regardless of whether you are self-managed or not, the provider will still manage these funds to pay for your care, so all providers charge a Package Management fee for this work.

    While Aunty Grace charges 12% of your package budget for package management it’s not unusual for some cost-heavy providers to charge upwards of 20% for this fee. This is because Aunty Grace uses industry-leading systems and technology to keep the price of admin low, and we pass these savings onto you.

 

  • Care Management – care management is a service provided to you to help you get the most out of your Home Care Package care and services. This includes helping you to identify and prioritise your needs and goals, set up a schedule of services, find the right workers for you, and monitor your services to make sure you are getting great results.

    Unfortunately, despite some providers’ high fees, their care management is less effective because the people responsible for looking after you are busy with administrative tasks. It’s not unusual for care managers from some Providers to spend more than 50% of their time on admin due to outdated systems and technology.

    At Aunty Grace, we pride ourselves on the quality of care management that you receive, and we work hard to improve our processes and make sure that our Care Managers are focused on you. We take all the administrative work off our Care managers and absorb this into the cost of our Package Management. This way your Care Manager can be in regular contact with you, your representatives and your workers to make sure things are being done the way you like, and to offer their expert advice. And if anything changes, your Care Manager is always available.

    We also offer a complimentary Concierge service so that you have someone you can reach in an emergency if you Care Manager is unavailable.

 

Benefits of Self-management

 

For some people, self-management can be an effective way to make use of your Home Care Package funds. This can be true for those who require few services or have less complex needs, or who already have a relationship with their service workers. In this case, self-managing may mean that the funds you save on Care Management fees can be put towards more hours of care and services from your workers. However, although choosing self-management may reduce the fees that go to your Provider, this isn’t always true. Many Providers charge Package Management fees that are close to or even greater than the total fees you would pay with another provider. For example, some Providers charge 18-25% for Package Management, while Aunty Grace’s total fees for Package Management and Care Management are only 22%.

 

When you self-manage, you will also need to find your own workers and negotiate prices directly with them. There is no guarantee that you will be able to secure service workers for a lower price than an experienced and knowledgeable Care Manager, as there are often hidden fees or minimum service times to be aware of. With an Aunty Grace Care Manager, we take care of all this for you.

 

Drawbacks of Self-management

 

When you choose to self-manage, you are effectively choosing to take on most of the role of the Care Manager yourself. You will receive the bare minimum of support, and this can be a daunting task for even the savviest person. You will need to deal with service workers largely on your own, making sure that they are charging you a fair price and that they are the best person for the job. When your service workers get sick, goes on holidays, or resigns, you will need to find someone appropriate to replace them if you wish to keep receiving services. You will also forego the expertise of a skilled Care Manager in helping you to choose services that maximise your health and well-being.

 

While you will receive some guidance from your Provider, you may not have a full understanding of the services available to you under the Home Care Package Program. This can also mean that you miss out on choosing services that give you the most bang for your buck, and sometimes can even mean that services and products you purchase can not be reimbursed if they don’t meet the government criteria. You will need to ask whether the self-management plan that your Provider has put together for you lives up to the promises that have been made, and whether any cost savings you get are worth the trouble of managing your own Package. 

 

Common traps of self-managed providers include

 

  • Excessively high Package Management Fees

 

Although several providers make claims about self-management only having ‘one low fee’, the fees they charge for the administration of your package (package management) can often be excessively high.

For example, many providers charge 18-25% or more for you to self-manage your own package, while Aunty Grace charges 22% total for a fully managed package that includes Care Management. It’s important to ask if the hassle of self-managing is worth it for you, given that you may ultimately not end up receiving substantially more care when self-managing, and sometimes even less.

 

Providers will also often use phrases such as “no hidden fees” or “no entry or exit fees” to entice customers. The reality is that waiving entry and exit fees is common in the Home Care industry, and there is no good reason why you should have to pay these fees regardless of your Provider. Aunty Grace does not charge entry or exit fees, and we also don’t charge you the Basic Daily Fee, which is also not mandatory. We consider waiving these non-mandatory fees as something you should expect as a customer.

 

  • Claiming greater “choice and control” over the workers you use

 

Because Aunty Grace uses workers from a wide range of suppliers, we can offer you a genuine selection of workers while keeping our service and product prices low. We even help you to bring or suggest your own workers if you have someone you already like. This way you still get to make an informed decision about the type, quality, and price of worker you’re happy with. And because we have preferred provider agreements with many suppliers, we are able to keep prices competitive and, in some cases, even lower than what you could find yourself.

 

  • Lack of Support

 

Although some providers claim that self-management is better for you, this can be a way for them to reduce their costs by providing you with less support, while still charging you relatively high fees. When you self-manage your package with these providers, you will not get the benefit of a skilled Care Manager regularly and pro-actively making sure that you are getting the best value from your package.

 

Self-managed providers will often quote the greater number of ‘care hours’ you will receive with the funds you save by self-managing. Aside from the fact that you may by saving very little or nothing at all on management fees with these providers, you may also find that your services will be more expensive and less reliable, meaning that you end up with the same amount of care.

 

When you get Care Management with Aunty Grace, we keep our service prices competitive. Because we can often get better service rates through our preferred supplier network, along with the support of an expert Care Manager you may get just as many or more hours of care by using an Aunty Grace Care Manager as you would by self-managing with another Provider.

 

The Aunty Grace difference

 

Aunty Grace wants to provide you with the best possible experience and the best possible outcomes from your Home Care Package. This includes not only great pricing and low fees, but also exceptional service from our exceptional Care Managers and Customer Service team. We know how valuable a great Care Manager can be, which is why we’ve focused on building the best team of Care Managers we can and providing them with the best tools and processes to care for you.

 

We have worked hard to set our total fees at a low price, so that you can still have a Care Manager to help you get the most out of your package, without ever having to compromise on the quality of care and support you get. So, when it comes to great care and support, with Aunty Grace you can have your cake and eat it too.

 

Not sure where to start? Need Assistance? Get in touch with us now.

Not sure where to start?

Need Assistance?

Get in touch with us now.

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