Aged care minister Ken Wyatt has written to home care providers reminding them they will be required to participate in a pricing comparison table on the My Aged Care website from mid next year.
It will also become mandatory for them to publish their pricing schedules on the portal’s Home Care Package Service Finder.
The moves are designed to increase transparency and help older Australians better assess costs so they can make an informed choice about their home provider, Mr Wyatt told Aged and Community Services Australia.
The measures are expected to come into force from June 2019 and October 2018 respectively.
ACSA CEO Pat Sparrow welcomed any measures that would support older Australians and their families in aged care choices. But she said the information had to be fair for providers and clear for consumers.
“Providers need to be able to shape and price their services to offer choice and variety for older Australians without an overly prescriptive approach to regulation.
ACSA will work with its members to make sure any new measures allow them to continue to do what they do best: supporting older Australians.”
In a letter to the peak aged care services body, and to home care providers, Mr Wyatt also asked providers to immediately publish their current pricing schedules on the service finder or provide a link to pricing schedules.
According to the health department, only 15 per cent of home care providers have published pricing on My Aged Care and less than half (40 per cent) have provided a link.
The department would undertake a co-design process later this year so clients can compare the single unit costs of common care package services.
Mr Wyatt also warned providers he would be closely monitoring administrative costs following complaints about excessive charges.
The federal government announced a greater transparency for aged care in the 2018-19 budget, saying it would publish performance ratings of residential service providers on the My Aged Care website, together with a tool to compare providers, from July 2020.