Exit fees and what you should know

by KinCare — 21 April 2017

The Government’s recent Aged Care reforms make it easier for you as a customer to move between providers based on your support needs. But if you are thinking of trying out a new provider, it’s important to now check that they don’t charge any sneaky joining, moving or exit fees.

At KinCare, we want to make it as easy as possible for you to choose the most suitable provider for your needs so we won’t charge you joining, upgrade or exit fees. We focus on delivering a great service and being a provider that you’ll choose to stay with. That’s why we won’t lock you in.

This fee — and the amount charged — is optional for each provider, however there are certain legal requirements providers must follow when disclosing this information to you.

Recent media reports have highlighted cases where home care customers have been charged unexpected or hidden exit fees. We’re here to help you understand what you should be looking out for.

We can help you

At KinCare, we want to help you to understand the In Home Care changes so you can find the best services and supports for you. If you could use some in-home support, or you have a friend or family member who does, contact KinCare today.

Get out of paying exit fees

Under the new reforms, providers can now charge you a fee if you choose to leave and go to another provider. This is a newly introduced discretionary fee which helps providers to cover the administration costs incurred when transferring you to your new provider.

An exit fee is only payable if it is outlined in your Home Care Agreement. If it is stated in the contract you signed, the specified amount will be deducted from any unused funds you have when you leave your provider. A provider cannot charge you an exit fee if it is not agreed on in your contract, and they cannot introduce this fee after you have signed your agreement.

Not all fees are equal

Exit fees are optional and vary in amount. Some home care providers, like us at KinCare, choose to waive joining, upgrade or exit fees to give you greater choice and flexibility in selecting the right provider. Other providers are reported to be charging as much as $4,000, with the average fee reported to be $417.

Check the fine print

Home care providers are now legally required to publish their maximum exit fee on the government’s My Aged Care website. This is the first time this information has been publicly available. Exit fees must be agreed to in your contract and cannot be higher than the amount published on My Aged Care, or your unspent funds.

What you can do

Regardless of your circumstances, it’s important to find out exactly what your current agreement states. Ask your provider for a copy of your Home Care Agreement and check it carefully for exit fees and the required notice period for leaving a package.

If you receive a letter from your provider asking you to pay an exit fee, refer back to your agreement. If it’s not stated there, don’t pay it.

If you are unsure about the fees you are being asked to pay, speak with your provider.

If you are still not satisfied, lodge a complaint with the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner by visiting www.agedcarecomplaints.gov.au or by calling 1800 550 552.