A number of new home care services from both new and existing providers are expected to enter the market from this week as the clock strikes on one of the biggest milestones in the Increasing Choices reforms.
From today, consumers will have control over their package funds, leading to what many believe will be a battle for clients played out largely through advertising and peer review websites.
Council On the Ageing (COTA) CEO Ian Yates told Inside Ageing that consumers have been preparing for these changes and those who are dissatisfied with their current provider will move quickly.
“We certainly know there are consumers out there ready and raring to go on the 28th because a number of them have been in touch with us talking about the issues. There are concerns about things like notice periods and exit fees, but I think that provider competition will sort that over a period of time.”
“Certainly there are people who are articulate and capable of doing that, but then there are people who aren’t. That’s why we’ve been pushing really hard – now with NACA endorsement – for the integrated consumer supports and we’re having very constructive dialogue with the Minister and the Department about it.”
“You do need in any market protections for consumers and consumer support. Good providers will do that but most providers – legitimately – have a different interest.”
As part of the reforms, new and simplified arrangements are in place to reduce the regulatory burden to become an approved provider, while existing providers will no longer have to reapply for approved provider status after two years.
While some new providers began marketing and advertising campaigns late last year, including Southern Cross Care, Silverchain, BaptistCare and PresCare, most have been waiting until February 27 to launch.
Mr Yates said COTA is aware of a number of new brands and industry disruptors set to launch after February 27 and welcomes the increased competition.
“We [COTA] have an association with Better Caring because we think having that kind of disruption is good idea. But they have to meet certain standards – do they have police checks, do they have recruitment criteria, do they learn when things go wrong?”
“We think there’s room for real diversity, and we’re excited. We’ve been briefed by a number of providers – existing and new providers – who have sharpened up or changed their business models in advance of February 27.”
“They’re not out there advertising yet but I think we’ll see some exiting developments of people doing things differently and that’s what the freedom is about.”
Central to many of the expected new services are digital platforms that allow for seamless enquiries, assessments and bookings. It is expected that digital advertising will dominate marketing budgets thanks to its low cost, data-capture and geo-targeting capabilities.
Here’s a snapshot of who ran strong Google Adwords campaigns over the weekend: Freedom Aged Care (VIC), BaptistCare (VIC), Luxecare (VIC), Home Instead (VIC), Kindercaring (NSW), Home Care Assistance (NSW), St Louis Aged Care (SA), Baptistcare (SA), Calvary Care (SA), AMC Services (SA), Aveo (QLD), Acqua Marine (QLD), Regis (NT), Bethanie (WA), Southern Plus (WA), Platinum Health Care (WA), Avivo (WA), Home Care Assistance (WA), Kincare (NAT), Bupa (NAT), Arcare (NAT) and Better Caring (NAT).