Making the decision to move to an aged care facility can be one of the most emotional, stressful and costly decisions you make.
While at 60 you’re not likely to be at that stage, your parents could possibly be.
The cost is one of the biggest factors you need to consider when choosing an aged care facility.
But did you know that you can actually negotiate the cost?
That’s right, it turns out that some costs including the Accommodation Payment or bond are actually negotiable.
In fact, the Accommodation Payment is often the maximum amount you can be charged.
Margaret Harrison from Signpost Aged Care Services said you can find out the price by visiting myagedcare.gov.au.
“Once you know that price, you can negotiate with the facility to see if they will accept less than the listed price,” she said.
“You can also negotiate some of the other fees and charges, particularly the extra service or additional service fees that a facility may charge.”
You might be wondering how to negotiate and when?
Well, it all comes down to you being confident enough to ask and the facility’s willingness to negotiate.
Harrison explains that it often comes down to supply and demand.
“Negotiating is just a matter of asking the simple question ‘Are you willing to negotiate on the price?’,” she said.
“If the facility has a long waiting list of people who are willing to pay the asking price, they may not negotiate on the price. But if the facility has a number of beds available, they are usually more willing to accept a lower price.”
If you’re looking at home care, you can also negotiate the cost.
The federally funded aged care package (Home Care Package) is also negotiable, according to Harrison.
“Whilst many people just engage the provider who first makes contact with the person receiving the package (or their loved one), it is worth shopping around for the best deal,” she said.
“The list of providers in your area is published on myagedcare.gov.au under the ‘Find a Service’ tab.”
If you’re not comfortable negotiating, you’re not alone.
Harrison said that a lot of families are reluctant to negotiate the cost.
“Either because they don’t feel comfortable doing it or they are afraid that negotiating will impact the care their loved one receives,” she said.
But you don’t need to be afraid of negotiating.
“In nearly all cases, the person negotiating the fees is not the person who is delivering the care,” Harrison said.
And of course, you can always ask for some help.
“If you are still not comfortable, you can engage services such as a placement agency or aged care expert to help you or negotiate on your behalf,” Harrison said.
“In most cases, these services pay for themselves in the money that you save.”
What happens if you can’t afford aged care?
Well, you or your loved ones could actually be entitled to a ‘supported’ bed.
Harrison explains that a supported bed is when the government helps by paying some money toward the accommodation cost.
“This often occurs when a spouse will be remaining in the marital home and the couple’s assets combined are less than about $300,000,” she said.
“It is worth checking whether you are eligible for a supported bed before you start looking at aged care.
“Whilst it does not mean you won’t be able to move into a fabulous facility, it is a little harder to find a supported bed.”