A quarter of Australians aged over 50 expect the government will fund most of their future aged care needs while 88 per cent are under the assumption that at least part of their care will be Commonwealth funded, a new report has found.
Victorian-based home care service provider Absolute Care and Health commissioned market research organisation McCrindle to investigate how prepared older Australians were for their future aged care needs.
Future Care Study 2018, which was published in July, involved an online representative survey of 1,005 Australians over the age of 50 undertaken between 27 March and 3 April this year.
In addition to gaining an insight into participants’ aged care preferences, knowledge of the services and conversation they’ve had about their future care, the report aimed to understand to what extent people expected government would fund their care.
While a quarter of participants expect the government will mostly fund their aged care (26 per cent), the report found that more than one in six expected government to fully fund their aged care needs (18 per cent).
Almost half of respondents said they expected their care would be partly funded by government (44 per cent) while the remaining 12 per cent expected no government contribution towards their future aged care costs.
Residential and home aged care consumers are required to contribute to their aged care costs via means and asset tested care and basic daily fees. Residents with means will also need to pay an accommodation fee and can opt to pay a premium for extra services.
COTA Australia CEO Ian Yates said there needed to be a more robust, equitable and consistent approach to co-contributions in aged care.
“People who have the capacity to contribute should be contributing more than they are at the moment,” Mr Yates told Australian Ageing Agenda.
The report found that 40 per cent respondents were not very confident they would be able to fund their aged care, with 43 per cent indicating they were concerned the government would also not be able to provide them with funds for their care.
Currently, the government pays the majority of care costs across the system as a whole, Mr Yates said.
“Government resources are stretched and if we can get people who can afford to pay to contribute to their care proportionately, then there will be more possibility for the government to pay for people who don’t have resources,” he said.
To fund their future care needs, participants said they intended to draw on government payments (47 per cent), superannuation (41 per cent), cash savings (30 per cent) and selling assets (41 per cent) investments (17 per cent) and family support (10 per cent).
Although, 20 per cent of respondents said they didn’t know yet how they might fund their future care needs.
Mr Yates said the government and superannuation funds should be raising awareness on the importance of planning for future aged care costs, Mr Yates said.
“Superannuation funds ought to do a great deal more in engaging with their members about what needs they may have in the retirement phase and what resources might be useful for them to have,” he said.
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