What does the future of NDIS pricing arrangements look like?

Posted 1 month ago by Georgie Waters
The National Disability Insurance Scheme aims to help people with disability to achieve their goals, be a part of society and have control over their lives. [Source: Shutterstock]
The National Disability Insurance Scheme aims to help people with disability to achieve their goals, be a part of society and have control over their lives. [Source: Shutterstock]

As participants are now needing to adapt to a changing landscape with new NDIS changes on the horizon, it’s evident that pricing is also beginning to change. The National Disability Insurance Agency is also following suit with new changes to be implemented through the National Disability Insurance Scheme in the future.

Key points:

  • Transitional pricing arrangements for group- and centre-based social and community participation supports ended on December 31, 2023 and new arrangements must be used from January 1, 2024
  • From the end of February 2024, all expiring NDIS plans will progressively transition to the new computer system

 

According to comments by the government which were made available on January 30, 2024, the government is “[…] committed to a better Australia for people with disability and will make key investments for both National Disability Insurance Scheme participants and non-participants.”

As part of this, the government is said to implement and develop a Foundational Supports Strategy with 11.6 million dollars, informed by perspectives from parents, families, carers, the disability community and researchers, who all have varied experiences in respect to the support required.

Specifics are yet to be determined as talks with state and territory governments and stakeholders must be established. However, general and targeted supports are said to be included. 

A joint statement released by Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth and NDIS Minister Bill Shorten detailed the following types of general supports that could be included after specifics are established:

  • community care;
  • assistance with shopping;
  • property maintenance;
  • peer and family supports;
  • early intervention support.

 

Ministers Rishworth and Shorten identified that people who may be ineligible for NDIS support may require targeted supports, such as

  • early support services;
  • independence and transition;
  • individual capacity building;
  • aids and equipment.

 

Targeted supports aim to help vulnerable populations such as children and people with persistent mental illness.

Minister for the NDIS and Government Services Bill Shorten said these improvements

will make NDIS processes simpler, clearer and more transparent and address

recommendations of the recent Review of the Scheme.

 

“Consultation is well underway, with thousands of Australians attending town halls

around the country, as well as other more intensive consultations on designing solutions

that are upcoming,” said Minister Shorten.

As participants are now needing to adapt to a changing landscape with new NDIS changes on the horizon, it’s evident that pricing is also beginning to change. The National Disability Insurance Agency is also following suit with new changes to be implemented through the National Disability Insurance Scheme in the future. 

The transitional pricing arrangement for group- and centre-based social community participation supports recently ended in December and the NDIS has now moved onto new arrangements as of January 1, 2024. 

The 329-page NDIS report from 2023 is available to read online and is also available in an easy-to-read version.

Although the new NDIS pricing arrangements have been released, any supports provided until December 31 may be claimed using the transitional pricing, but this must be done by March 31, 2024 — meaning that providers have three months to finalise any claims under the former pricing model. From April 1, 2024, the transitional pricing support items will be removed from the system. 

It’s important to understand that providers may choose to transition groups to the new pricing in stages, so long as they don’t revert to the transitional pricing for that particular group. For more information regarding the necessity of the provider price updates, head over to our article: ‘Why providers must change pricing before 2024.’

NDIS Minister Bill Shorten spoke about the intended reforms in December, stating that money would be used effectively. 

“The Albanese Government has made a commitment to humanise the Scheme and ensure every dollar goes to the participants for whom it was intended,” Minister Shorten said.

Participants and their NDIS providers can negotiate the fees of non-face-to-face support, as per NDIS guidelines. Not only does this assist participants of the scheme, but also means that some burden on the administration aspect is lifted. NDIS providers must be aware that this negotiation must occur before the support in question begins, to ensure that participants are aware of the costs. 

While there are price limits for certain supports and items in the NDIS, according to resources published to the NDIS website, effective in June 2023, “[…] some supports are not subject to price control.” In such cases, participants should only claim when it’s required to meet their needs. Additionally, there are instances where living in a remote area may mean that higher price limits are applied due to location. 

Furthermore, this document released on the NDIS website specifies that “[…] the pricing arrangements do not only set the price limits for supports. They also specify when and how supports can be claimed, including what has to have happened for a support to be claimable.”

The report stated that reforms should be implemented as a package, staged over a five-year transition period, with participants given at least two years to transition to new arrangements. For more information, check out our article for a summary of the NDIS review

Additionally, due to the high turnover in the NDIA workforce, there has been an increase in costs. There have been difficulties with workforce retention in the NDIA, with a high annual turnover of 17 – 25 percent in recent years as explored in a report by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in 2022.

To compare this to a recent statistic in February 2023, the average job mobility in Australia was nine-and-a-half percent, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2023, which is significantly lower than the results from the NDIA employee survey. 

In the same report, one reason for such high turnover is said to be the amount of administrative procedures and paperwork required, with 41 percent of NDIS workers surveyed stating that this was a concern for them. This is one of the reasons why transferring expiring NDIS plans to the new computer system will be beneficial. 

While new pricing changes may cause uncertainty, the NDIA aims to help people with disability to access the support they need and to experience a greater quality of life. However, you can provide feedback, give a compliment or make a complaint about the NDIA.

More changes are set to occur with progress being made through government talks, with hopes to make the NDIS more user-friendly.

 

How do you feel about the new NDIS pricing arrangements? 

Let the team at Talking Disability know your thoughts on social media. 

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