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Assistive Technology price guide changes

Todd explores new changes that allow high cost Assistive Technology (AT) to be claimed as a subscription service.

By Todd Winther

Updated 15 Apr 202423 May 2023
Image of clouds and trees and a finger pointing at a subscribe button with cash behind it

The NDIA Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits Document has been updated with significant changes to assistive technology funding. For the first time, subscription services in the Consumables or Assistive Technology categories have been included in the price guide. Subscription Services are items or services that require regular payments. For example, software that improves accessibility, such as voice-to-text services or Easy English translation services.

The change means that participants can pay for items or services in a more streamlined method, rather than in individual instalments. And for providers, billing for these services or items will be simplified, reducing red tape, time and labour for administration staff.

Individual Subscription Services

There are conditions to be met to ensure subscriptions are eligible, which are outlined on page 34:

  • The subscription must have a Plain English service agreement the participant has agreed to. The service agreement must describe the subscription, its cost (including any extra fees), and its exit conditions should the participant wish to cancel it.
  • The most an individual service can cost is $5000 per year.
  • Subscription services that cost more than $1500 must be charged monthly (the first month must be paid before the start of the subscription).
  • Where the subscription is cheaper than $1500, the service can be charged less frequently, at either quarterly or annual instalments. The Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits Document uses an example of a service that costs $199, which can be charged annually.
  • The service must have no penalties (such as exit fees). Should the participant cancel the service (with a month's notice), the participant is entitled to the balance of the subscription fee before the end of the subscription period.
  • Invoices for the subscription must include; a clear description of the supports available to the participant during the subscription period. Should the subscription be used monthly, participants may agree in writing to be billed quarterly if the price is below $1500.

Bundled Services

 Subscription bundles can be classified under Mid or High-Cost Assistive Technology (totalling over $15,000) and come from a participant's Capital Budget. Some examples of subscription bundles may include multiple items of home technology or purchasing multiple software programs from the same company. All subscription services' conditions apply.

Subscription bundles can also bill for either or both of the following:

1.     Freight and in-home technical setup costs - which are paid at the beginning of the subscription.

2.     Removing and returning items related to the subscription - items must be returned to the provider's nearest agent to the participant's permanent residence. This condition also applies should the participant pass away.

 The cancellation fee for a bundled service shall not exceed a one-month subscription fee, or $600, whichever is the least amount.

Conclusion

The changes outlined above make it easier for participants to access a more comprehensive array of technology, allowing further choice and control for participants. Anytime restrictions and conditions which lessen participant's ‘life admin tasks' or providers' to-do lists are always appreciated.  

Authors

Todd Winther

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