This guide has been written for you by one of our friendly Care Managers at Better Living Home Care. If you have any questions about the guide, need some advice or would just like to say hello then give us a ring! Call us at 1 300 307 344, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. We can help you live better.
Home Care Package Hidden Fees – 4 Common Traps
As the old saying goes if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. There are a number of Home Care Package Providers promoting low fees but it is worth ensuring they don’t also have hidden fees too. Unexpected fees can make a big dent in the amount of funds you have leftover for care services, which is what your package is intended for. When considering a Provider it’s important to look out for the following four fee traps.
- Case Management and Administration fees – flexible or fixed?
Some Providers use a flexible pricing strategy similar to budget airlines. You can think you got a great deal until food, entertainment and luggage expenses are all added on. Those charges can easily add up to more than you budgeted for!
Similarly there are many Providers which initially seem to offer low fees but charge clients an uncapped amount for case management and administrative assistance. If you find a Provider that has ‘flexible pricing’ then you should enquire about the rate you will be charged and the billing time blocks. Three key questions to ask are:
- What is the hourly rate I will be charged for case management and administrative assistance? Don’t forget that case management fees could include being charged for things like you calling in when a service provider doesn’t show or you have another issue which is the Provider’s responsibility.
- How long are your minimum billing blocks and how do you track this? A few calls a month particularly for a Level 2 can significantly reduce the amount of funds available for care services.
- How many care service hours, on average, will I receive with my level of Home Care Package? A Provider should easily be able to give you a range. If they can’t, or seem vague, it’s time to look elsewhere.
At Better Living Homecare we take a completely different, and we think better, approach. We offer a flat fixed fee so you can feel free to call whenever you like, safe in the knowledge that the amount of funds available for your care will not change week to week. Like a good mate wouldn’t charge you for calling them for help, we won’t either.
- Low or zero fees with a large set-up or membership fee
Another model that some Providers use is to advertise extremely low or zero fees but charge a very large set-up or membership fee. This offer may initially seem attractive but this type of fee arrangement can greatly reduce the amount of care services you receive from your package. The other issue is if you’re unhappy with your Provider you may feel forced to stay since you paid so much upfront.
At Better Living Homecare there are no set-up or membership fees.
- Surcharges for using your chosen carers and/or allied health professionals
Some Providers only allow you to choose who provides your services from a panel that they have an agreement or financial arrangement with. Other Providers will charge an additional fee to use service providers of your choice. Sounds a little bit dodgy? You’re not alone.
At Better Living Homecare you are free to use any service provider of your choice and there is no set-up fee or surcharge for doing so. We believe that freedom of choice and positive existing relationships are to the benefit of our clients.
- Exit Fees
Exit fees can be significant and deter unhappy customers to go elsewhere. Before you sign with a Provider you should check if this fee is applicable and if so how much it is. It must be clearly stated on the Home Care Agreement between you and your service provider.
Better Living Homecare does not charge an exit fee and we never will. Instead we do our job well so our clients won’t want to switch. Simple as that.