NDIA RELEASE NEW PRICES EFFECTIVE 1 JULY 2021
The NDIA has, finally we must say, released the what we all know as the Price Guide for 2021 – 2022 that came into effect from 1 July 2021. The full suite of Pricing documentation can be found on the NDIA website: Pricing Documents.
Firstly let’s get the well-deserved criticisms out of the way!
Timing of Release
Releasing the documents at 6.44pm on July 1 is exceptionally poor form from the NDIA. The NDIA continue to disregard the practical implications faced by Intermediaries, and therefore participants, of immediate or backdated price changes.
Whilst these changes are in line with those flagged by the NDIA in early June, the critical detail and price limits were not made available until after business hours on the day they were meant to take effect from, despite publicly promising that they would be out in early to mid-June. The NDIA has been told time and time again by the market that this needs to improve, the NDIS turned eight on the 1st of July 21, it’s beyond time for the NDIA to get this right!
Name Change and Accessibility
Gone is the name of ‘Price Guide’ – its new name is now ‘NDIS Pricing Arrangement and Price Limits’ which is hardly a user friendly title let alone accessible or easy to understand for many participants with NDIS plans.
Further, this document is not solely for a provider / business audience, in fact in order to have participants act as true informed consumers and with self-direction in the supports market this document needs to be far easier to read, or at the very least be accompanied by an easy read version.
Lastly, DIA has run the document through a couple of common screen readers with poor results. NDIA its 2021 you can do better!
With that out of the way, below are the major changes.
Major Changes for 2021-22.
- The base price limits for supports delivered by disability support workers have increased by 2.95% to take account of the Fair Work Commission’s decision to increase minimum wages by 2.5% and the increase in the super guarantee percentage, from 9.5% to 10%.
- The price limits for specialist disability accommodation have increased 1.1% based on the change in the consumer price index.
- The temporary transformation payment (TTP) loading has reduced from 6% to 4.5%.
- The extension of the transitional pricing arrangements for group-based supports for 12 months.
The 2021-2022 Support Catalogue has a total of 848 support line items. From DIA’s analysis:
- The number of line items that have had a price increase is 373;
- The number of line items that have had no increase is 377; and
- There are 98 support line items that now have the beloved $1.00 “price” limit i.e. travel, transport and low-cost AT.
As we discussed in our article in early June – Intermediary support items have received no increase in price.
Bizarrely however is that Recovery Coaching received an increase, but not Support Coordination, despite being the same registration group with the NDIS Commission.
For Plan Managers some new text has appears in the document
“Plan managers must provide the Australian Business Number (ABN) of the service provider who delivers the support for all payment requests. The NDIA will only accept payment requests without an ABN if the service provider is exempt from quoting an ABN under Australian Taxation Office (ATO) rules. Exempt providers must complete the ATO’s Statement by a Supplier form. Plan managers are expected to keep a copy of the completed form.
Plan managers must always ensure that a valid tax invoice is included with relevant information about the goods/services purchased for all payment requests. A plan manager may be liable to pay back any amount not spent in accordance with a participant’s plan.
Plan managers are required to acknowledge compliance with the NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits and its associated documents when submitting payment requests through the myplace Provider Portal.”
Some of this text has been lifted from the Guide to Plan Management and other from the ABN comunication put out by the NDIA. DIA was not consulted or informed that this content would be put into the document. DIA is engaging with the NDIA on a number of matters (see below) in which these points are relevant and will provide further information on them in due course.
Intermediaries like many other supports did not even receive a price increase to recognise the increase in superannuation, let alone CPI. So for all supports without this increase it means you are going backwards from this time last year – Does the NDIA really think these supports have sizeable enough margins to shoulder such cost increases?
The provider focused “Pricing Update” page can be accessed at: Pricing Update.
Understanding Pricing Changers
The NDIA have also published a page on their website “Understanding the price changes.“. The key messages are:
Unlike in previous years, funds remaining in participants plans at June 30 will not be increased to reflect the increasing price limits. The NDIA have justified this saying:
“Our data shows most participants will be able to continue to purchase the supports they need from their existing plan funds and will not be impacted by changes to price limits.
We have a process in place to monitor plan utilisation and identify participants who are likely to utilise their entire funded supports before their plan end date. We will ensure participants continue to receive the reasonable and necessary supports they need without disruption”.
The minimum wage and superannuation requirements for Disability Support Workers has increased and have been factored into the new price limits where applicable. Providers may want to negotiate an increase in support price.
If Service Bookings allow, and the participant agrees, SDA providers may charge up to the new SDA price limits from July 1.
The NDIA have clarified that a provider may claim for two therapists delivering the one type of support to a participant. This may be a handover or meeting of the participants therapists as examples.
The NDIA have clarified that, with pre-approval, certain pre-payments may be made i.e. customised or high-cost AT items.
SIL providers who help participants attend a COVID vaccine appointment will be able to claim $150 directly from the NDIA. This does not come from a participants plan.
If a participant receives at least one hour of face-to-face daily living support, they can claim $50 worth of PPE to use when the support worker is supporting them. This can be claimed from the participants Core budget.
The NDIA have also released their report on the pricing arrangements for SIL. Essentially, the report has recommended no change to the method of pricing for SIL supports in that they should continue to be aligned with Assistance with Daily Living supports. DIA will be reviewing the report and will provide a commentary in the near future. In the meantime, the report can read here: NDIA Report on SIL Pricing 2021.
In conclusion the release of the 2021 -2022 Pricing Arrangements was as anticipated, albeit released considerably later than expected. The Annual Price Review is due to commence in August, running through to December, this means that providers not yet given any pricing increases are unlikely to any movement from the NDIA on price limits for 6 to 12 months.
DIA will be actively participating in this process and will engage our members as early and as often as possible to ensure our members are well informed.
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