As if the looming Living Longer Living Better Reforms (LLLB) due to commence on 1 July 2014 were not enough, everyone is trying to get their head around the announcements in last week’s budget.
For residential aged care services there are a number of concerns:
- Removal of the Payroll Tax Supplement – this will effect not just for profit providers but also some not for profit providers.
- Co-payments introduced from 1 July 2015 – $7 to visit a GP (capped at 10 visits) – The question is will this be applied to residents living in residential aged care and if so how will the charges be applied. For many residents they have precious little left after paying their care fees and for their medications.
- Increases in the cost of prescriptions will also affect this group in a major way. The amount of the increase is 80 cents per script – I am not sure if this is per medication – this is another impost on those with little or no ability to increase their income.
- The establishment of Primary Health Networks to replace Medicare Locals – once again this will be interesting to watch.
- Proposed changes to reduce the amount the pensions rise annually – this will have a direct follow on effect to aged care providers, reducing the care fees they receive while all of their overheads and costs continue to rise.
As always the devil will always be in the detail and it must be remembered that these budget measure have to pass the Senate – so potentially all announcements will be altered or even dropped over the coming months.