Want To Change Provider? How to Save Time and Effort

The Australian government provides different subsidies to the elderly, such as The Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) and Home Care Packages (HCP). Both of these programs are very important for the older Australians, enabling them to receive supports to live at home longer. The government requires subsidies to be managed by a qualified provider. If you are not happy with your current provider, you are now also able to change providers easily. In this article, we will teach you how to change your provider in a money saving and effortless way.

 

The legal rights of the elderly

According to the Charter of Aged Care Rights and Aged Care Quality Standards, you have the right to change providers. We will separately describe how this looks with each of the two age care subsidies commonly used by the elderly:

The Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) is an entry-level subsidy. Both the government and the elderly contribute to the cost of care services. Therefore, for the elderly who hold CHSP, the local city council usually pays for only part of the service, while the care recipient will also need to pay $9-$15 per service. Since this subsidy is quite simple, the reasons and steps for transferring providers are also relatively simple.

 

Why you may need to change CHSP provider:

  • Fewer services or no services.
  • You’re moving house, to another city or state.
  • Your care needs change and your current provider can’t help.

If you need to change CHSP provider, the steps are relatively simple, as this does not involve management fees and service:

  1. First, contact your current provider and inform them about your transferring details.
  2. You can also choose to contact My Aged Care directly.

Please note:

CHSP is a relatively basic subsidy, and the government generally does not recommend that the elderly change their provider. Unless there is the cause of one of the transferring reasons mentioned above.

 

Home Care Packages (HCP)

This subsidy is for the elderly who need more care, there are four levels of Home Care Packages, funding is from $9,026 (level 1) to $52,377 (level 4) per year. The purpose of this subsidy is to allow the elderly to maintain a healthy, safe and comfortable life at home. We have many older Australians who switch to Happy Living, so we thought we would summarise a few of the main reasons for transfer to us.

 

Reason 1: Provider does not offer certain Care Models

Different providers offer different care models. For example, Happy Living provides three care models: self management 14% fee, part management 18% fee and full case management 23% fee. Many providers only provide full case management, or have stopped providing the self management model. As a result, many elderly people hope to choose a provider with a comprehensive range care models to ensure that if their care needs they do not have to change provider but can simply transition across to a different model.

At present, there are indeed many providers who have tried to launch a self management model, but eventually stopped.

There are two main reasons for this: on the one hand, the profit of self management model is reduced due to the low management rate. On the other hand, due to the flexibility of the self management model, a very large care service network is required for support. This is not to say that self management means that the elders manage themselves completely without any help or assistance from their provider. Under the influence of a variety of factors, many providers stop self-management model.

 

Reason 2: Hidden cost

Researchers in the age care industry in Australia have conducted a survey on management fees, and people may not believe that there are hundreds of different types of fees in the HCP industry, completely treating the elderly as “cash cows.”

If you already hold a HCP, you may wish to check your statement to see if such expenses are charged:

  1. Service coordination fee, when elderly purchase care products, and a certain service fee of the provider is charged. For example, to buy a $100 AUD diaper, you need to pay an additional $5 as a service coordination fee.
  2. The home visit fee or the annual review fee, means that in addition of management fee, a extra fee of $150-$200 is charged for each home visit, or a fee of $200-$300 is charged for the annual review of the year.
  3. Tiered fees, one rate for level 1 and level 2, and another rate for level 3 and level 4. When your HCP level is upgraded, the management fee rate may also increase.
  4. Withdrawal fees, signing fees, activation fees, basic daily fee and other fees, these fees may be written in your contract in an obscure manner.

The fees of Happy Living are simple and transparent, with a fixed rate and no other hidden cost. Self management charge 14% of the management fee, no matter if it is level 1 or level 4. Same way applies to part management 18% and full case management 23%.

 

Reason 3: Moving house

Many elderly may change residence as their children move house. Therefore, there will be issues: the new state cannot provide services, or the new suburb does not have corresponding support workers, etc.

As the care resource network for Happy Living is all over Australia’s capital cities, we basically meet general care needs and reasonable care time. At present, Happy Living has clients who have moved from Sydney to Brisbane or the Gold Coast, and some clients have moved from Melbourne to Canberra, etc. Their services are still provided in their new city.

If the provider is a small business, they may only have their company in one city, such as only in Sydney, or only in Melbourne. This means the Home Care Package holder has no other choice but to change to a new provider in their new city.

 

Steps to transfer your Home Care Package.

  1. You need to check the agreement with your current provider and acknowledge the notification date of the transfer. Some providers require 14 days, some are 28 days, and some are 2 months. The notice date for Happy Living is 28 days.
  2. Confirm the transfer date with the current provider several times.
  3. Confirm with the current provider that all service invoices have been cleared
  4. After confirming the information, the current provider submits the transfer application to My Aged Care.
  5. Contact your chosen new provider.
  6. The newly issued subsidy will be managed by your new provider after your transfer date.
  7. The balance of the HCP held by the previous provider will be released after 70 days.

 

When transferring, you may encounter difficulty:

Whether it is a non-profit organisation or a profit organisation, customers are an important factor of company operations. Therefore, some providers deliberately set up obstacles when customers leave deliberately to avoid or delay their transfer cycle.

Case 1: The customer is not allowed to change providers.

Incorrect! According to the Charter of Aged Care Rights and Aged Care Quality Standards, every customer has the right to change providers.

Case 2: After changing your provider, you will lose your entire HCP balance.

Incorrect! After the unused subsidy is finally settled by the previous provider, the balance will be transferred to the new account of the elderly. The general cycle is 70 days.

Case 3: The client notified the provider of the transfer, and the provider says NO notification is received, or delaying the transfer cycle. As a solution, we suggest you should formally send an email, WeChat, SMS, etc., and confirm the transfer date with the provider in writing, so that you can have evidence in hand. We do not recommend oral notification because it is difficult to trace the date and retain evidence.

Case 4: I sent an email, a WeChat, and made a phone call, but the provider still ignores my request. You can call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 to complain and propose further solutions.

Case 5(Extremely rare case): There is a debt in the HCP account, and the provider uses this as an excuse to refuse your transfer.

This is a rare case, but it does happen. Providers have an obligation to properly manage a customer’s subsidy. It is unprofessional behaviour to let a customer uncontrollably spend and result with them having a negative balance. Because the amount of HCP is issued based on assessment. If the subsidy is overused, it must be spent in unnecessary items outside the care budget.

The usual solution is that the customer needs to pay off the debts, and then decide whether to transfer provider.

 

How to save money and effort when transferring?

  1. Review the agreement, check the transfer notice date (in termination term).
  2. Meanwhile find a new provider.
  3. Make sure that the previous provider receives your transfer notice (in formal writing).
  4. If you encounter difficulties, firstly negotiate with the previous provider. If you need to protect your rights or make a complaint, you can call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.
  5. The unspent subsidy will be transferred to the new account after 70 days
  6. Try to avoid overspending the funding in your HCP account.

 

Conclusion

It is a common decision for a customer to change their provider. As a HCP recipient you have the right to enjoy retired life happily, independently, and safely. Don’t let unprofessional providers disappoint you.

 

In addition to articles, Happy Living also has radio programs, online seminars and aged activity centres in Sydney and Melbourne. We have multiple channels introducing the Australian age care industry, various government allowances to the elderly, health knowledge for the elderly, and Australian current affairs news, etc. content.

 

If you need more information about HCP:

  • Please call our customer service number 1300 911 728 (Mandarin, Cantonese, English)