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What is the MPIR?

Some Commentary on the Maximum Permissible Interest Rate (MPIR)

We are tempted to ignore the MPIR, simply accepting it as the factor which converts RADs into DAPs - lump sums into their income stream equivalent. However, we have some concerns about this approach, both from a practical perspective and whether the mechanism is appropriate for Aged Care. Please accept our apologies in advance for the complexities, but they are included to make a point.

The MPIR rate has decreased to 8.34% for the period April 1, 2024 to June 30, 2024 - reflecting a slight decrease in base/mortgage interest rates.

MPIR Trends over time

Major changes were made to aged care funding in 2014, at a point in time in which interest rates were near historic lows. Interest rates then reduced even further, more recently as a consequence of the economic measures taken during the Covid 19 pandemic, until central banks began to raise interest rates because of inflationary pressures in 2022. Most economists expect an easing of interest rates in 2024 on the back of lower growth in the economy and this should translate to DAP rates - but remember, the DAP applies unchanged for an individual's entire stay in that particular residential accommodation.

Changes in the MPIR can materially affect the level of DAP applicable. The table below illustrates the DAP equivalent of a RAD of $400,000 based on the MPIR rate over the last twelve quarters. The increase applied on April 1, 2024 represented another slight deceleration compared to recent rate increrases but nonetheless we have seen an effective doubling in DAP costs over only a two year period.

RAD = $400,000 From To DAP Annual Cost
MPIR = 8.34% 1 April 2024 30 June 2024 $91.40 per day $33,360
MPIR = 8.38% 1 January 2024 31 March 2024 $91.84 per day $33,520
MPIR = 8.15% 1 October 2023 31 December 2023 $89.32 per day $32,600
MPIR = 7.90% 1 April 2023 30 June 2023 $86.58 per day $31,600
MPIR = 7.46% 1 April 2023 30 June 2023 $81.75 per day $29,840
MPIR = 7.06% 1 January 2023 30 March 2023 $77.37 per day $28,240
MPIR = 6.31% 1 October 2022 31 Dec 2022 $69.15 per day $25,240
MPIR = 5.00 % 1 July 2022 30 Sept 2022 $54.79 per day $20,000
MPIR = 4.07% 1 April 2022 30 June 2022 $44.60 per day $16,280
MPIR = 4.04% 1 January 2022 31 March 2022 $44.27 per day $16,160
MPIR = 4.01% 1 October 2021 31 Dec 2021 $43.95 per day $16,040
MPIR = 4.02% 1 July 2021 30 Sep 2021 $44.05 per day $16,080

Since RADs and DAPs are all about funding capital costs this might be logical, but is it really practical to have a system in which the daily payment alternative has such inherent potential volatility?

What is the MPIR?

The next question is to what degree the MPIR really reflects a cost of capital to Aged care providers? You would expect a long and detailed spreadsheet looking at funding costs but this is how the MPIR is determined:

1. The MPIR is calculated in accordance with Section 6 of the Fees and Payments Principles 2014 (No. 2) (Aged Care Act).

2. Section 6 provides for the following approach:

The maximum permissible interest rate for a day is worked out as follows:

  • Work out the general interest charge rate for the relevant day under section 8AAD of the Taxation Administration Act 1953.
  • Multiply the rate worked out at step 1 by the number of days in the calendar year in which the relevant day falls.
  • Subtract 3 percentage points from the amount worked out at step 2.

3. The Taxation Administration Act provides that the general interest charge rate for a day is the rate worked out by adding 7 percentage points to the base interest rate for that day, and dividing that total by the number of days in the calendar year.

4. The base interest rate is the monthly average yield of 90-day Bank Accepted Bills published by the Reserve Bank of Australia for the month in the third column of the table.

5. So, the process in summary to find the MPIR involves the following:

Base Interest Rate = monthly average yield of 90 day bank bills

Base Interest Rate + 7% = General Interest Charge

General Interest Charge - 3% = MPIR

Maybe this process does lead to a rate that fairly approximates the cost of capital for an aged care provider, the rate they would have to pay to borrow money, but we can't find any supporting evidence. If the rate somehow emerged from Aged Care services then we could believe that it might have a basis in the current real cost of capital, but the mechanism appearing above suggests a very blunt instrument. Given its importance, that leaves us with considerable concerns.


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