Rate increases add hundreds of dollars to annual costs for Manitoba care-home residents

By | July 31, 2020

Residents in Manitoba personal care homes will pay hundreds of dollars more per year once annual rate increases come into effect on Saturday.

The rates are based on a sliding scale, with higher-income earners paying more. Residents on the highest end of the scale will see their daily rate rise from $90.65 per day to $95.20. That rate applies to single residents making $39,188.03 or more or more, and married/common-law residents with a combined annual income of $79,604.03 or more.

The increase adds up to an extra $1,660.75 per year.

Residents on the lowest end of the scale — those making $18,857.52 per year or less — will pay $39.40 per day. That’s up from $38.75, for an annual increase of $237.25.

The Department of Health, Seniors and Active Living pays the majority of the costs in personal care homes, with residents paying a portion of the cost based on their net income, a provincial spokesperson said. 

Rates go up every year and reflect changes in income and the cost of living, the spokesperson said.

“This ensures enough revenues are collected to offset increasing costs for long-term care while protecting those with lower incomes,” the spokesperson said in an email statement.

Uzoma Asagwara, health critic for the Opposition NDP, called that explanation inadequate. 

“Just because the rates go up this way every single year isn’t isn’t an appropriate response, especially … [because] we’re in an unprecedented time,” the Union Station MLA said in an interview.

Asagwara pointed out that for any seniors living in personal care homes, the increases wipe out the $200 cheque they received from the provincial government, along with a signed letter from Premier Brian Pallister, in order to offset some of the costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“What we should be seeing is the government investing more dollars into personal care homes and investing more dollars into places where residents need more resources, in order to be able to come through this pandemic as healthy and as well as possible,” said Asagwara.

Earlier this month, the Manitoba Association of Residential and Community Care Homes for the Elderly said many care homes in the province have had their funding frozen for the last 10 years.

Over that same period, dietary expenses at homes operated by MARCHE’s members have increased by 36 per cent and the cost of incontinence supplies increased by 50 per cent.

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