The NDIA released the new price guide for 2020 today. The good news is that the NDIA have got this guide out much earlier than usual. This means we all have a chance to dig around in it and get a handle on everything before it actually goes live on July 1.
(It also hopefully gives the NDIA a chance to shake out all the bugs before the guide goes live. Remember how many guides were released last year?)
So that’s the good news. The bad news is that it doesn’t actually show the new prices.
There is a good reason for this. The Fair Work Commission is due to hand down a decision on the minimum wage very soon. This will affect the NDIS prices. So the new price limits can’t be worked out until the case lands.
So we will all need to cool our jets until the final guide is released before the end of June.
But we do note – if you have a planning meeting between now and July 1 it will be a bit tricky to work out exactly how much money you will need. Particularly if you are one of those people who has your funds budgeted down to the last 50 cents.
So what else is new?
The first change is that the NDIA have binned the old support catalogue (that’s the document that had all the line items and the prices in it). Instead they have put more description and many of the prices in the price guide (that’s the document that used to just explain all the terms and rules).
The support catalogue is now just a really plain CSV file designed to make it easier for providers to load into their systems. There’s no PDF version anymore.
The NDIA say they have done this to make the guide and the catalogue easier to use – now all the descriptions, rules and prices are all in the one document – the Price Guide.
Given how many coloured highlights, sticky notes and hand-written scrawls are on our current copy of the support catalogue (!) we certainly hope this one is easier to use. (Feel free to drop us a line and let us know how you are finding it).
As well as the new look, there are also some new supports and line items.
The first one is the creation of some support items to help people with a psychosocial disability. The most critical is the creation of a new support called a recovery coach.
According to the info on the NDIS website, the recovery coach will act a bit like a support coordinator for people with psychosocial disability. They will help people develop and implement a recovery plan. But they will be different from support coordinators because they will be expected to have specialist mental health experience – including lived experience where possible.
At the moment recovery coaches are priced at more than a regular support worker but less than a support coordinator. Importantly, the NDIA says that most of the time people will not be able to have both a recovery coach and a support coordinator in their plan – it will be one or the other (but clearly they are leaving room to respond to some individual circumstances).
The focus on permanent disability in the NDIS has not sat well with the focus on recovery in mental health. It would be something of an understatement that the two things have bumped into each other hard – often leaving people with psychosocial disability to fall through the gaps. So a lot of work is currently going into trying to make sure people with a psychosocial disability get the support they need from the scheme. So this seems like another step in the right direction.
But because it is something new, it might take a while to see how it pans out.
Independent Living Options
Independent Living Options (ILOs) is NDIS jargon for people who are trying to come up with interesting and different ways to work out their housing and support.
There are now two new line items for people to use who want to come up with alternative living options – one to help them explore and plan, and one for the support itself.
Clearly this one is still very new and needs a whole lot more fleshing out – the NDIA say more info will be provided in July. In the meantime they are keen to hear from people who want to use these items. They even provided an email address –
Given how few housing options there are out there for people, we really hope this one takes off. FAST.
Set pricing for SIL
Supported Independent Living is one area that is really set for a shake up.
The NDIA have flagged that they are going to set price limits for supports, rather than continuing to rely on the existing process of quoting and negotiation.
The NDIA are currently doing a review into SIL and so won’t set the final price limits until that review is complete (expected later in the year).
So until then they will use the prices set for “assistance with daily living” to determine the price limits for SIL.
Anyone who has an existing plan with SIL in it – the existing quote will stand until your plan is finished. The new SIL prices will start to apply in your next plan.
There will be an info pack for SIL providers released before July 1. It goes without saying that we sincerely hope there will also be good info for participants as well. Given that the lack of transparency around SIL is one of the things we hear about most, we expect the NDIA to explain clearly to people with disability and their families what the changes are and what they will mean for them.
The changes around employment flagged at the end of last year will finally be introduced with this price guide.
Employment support won’t be funded in blocks anymore. It will be funded in hours and days just like all the other supports in the NDIS.
This means participants will have more flexibility in how they use their employment supports. It will give them more choice – it means for example that they can use their supports in whatever setting they chose. For example – people might like to set up a microbusiness with their funding.
And hopefully this will get more people into work.
Economic participation is one of the big goals of the scheme. And yet it is one of the areas where outcomes have been a bit of a mixed bag. We really hope this greater flexibility makes a difference.
Changes to groups
One of the reasons the Support Catalogue is a lot shorter this time is that the NDIA have taken out all of the different prices for groups.
There are no longer different ratios for groups – for example 1:2 or 1:3.
Providers are now expected to count on their fingers and toes and work out the percentage for each participant in a group.
We’re gonna take a guess and suggest this isn’t always going to be very easy to do. Good reason to keep a very close eye on your invoices.
Temporary Transformation Payment
When the TTP (Temporary Transformation Payment) was first introduced, it was flagged that it would fall by 1.5% every financial year. This financial year it was set at 7.5%. It will drop down to 6% starting in July.
Providers cannot claim the additional TTP loading unless they let the NDIA know first. They must also meet a bunch of requirements. And more importantly, they must not add the charge without talking to a participant first.
We know the TTP has caused plenty of pain for people. Prices have increased – but people’s plans have not. And while that might not matter too much to people who are not using all of their budget, it is a very big deal to others. We don’t think it is fair – and we will continue to push for plans to be increased to cover it.
This price guide also includes all the changes the NDIA have introduced over the last few months to try and help people during the Coronavirus pandemic.
It’s important to remember that all those changes – things like the 10% price increase and the 10 day cancellation policy – are all set to end in September.
But they are also set to be reviewed in June – so we will need to keep an eye on what happens.
And finally …
The NDIA also released the results of their annual pricing review today. And while the report is very technical and not very user friendly, there were some interesting recommendations hidden amongst all the market jargon and complicated formulas.
Many of you contributed to the review so we thought you might like to have a look at what happened to all that work.
You can find both the price guide and the support catalogue on the Pricing page on the NDIS website
You can find the report on pricing on the Annual Price Review page on the NDIS website
If you want to learn more about recovery coaches you can find more on the Mental Health and NDIS page on the NDIS website. Make sure you scroll down to the end to find the fact sheet.
If you want to learn more about ILOs you can find more on the Independent Living Options page on the NDIS website