Is dental insurance in Australia worth the cost?
Unlike Medicare, dental fees are not subsidised by the Federal Government and there is no recognised fee schedule. Fees have to be set by the dentist to take account of individual costs of practice which will vary in different practices.
As a general rule, a dentist has to pay out approximately 70% of all fees received in the overhead costs of running the practice. If the practice tries to cut these costs to lower the fees you pay, there is a danger that the quality of your treatment may be compromised.
The fees charged in our practice are kept as low as possible whilst providing care of the highest quality. There is no comfort in providing cheap dentistry as is means a lower quality of care for patients.
The best way to lower your dental costs is to prevent dental decay and gum disease in the first place. Regular check-ups are a relatively inexpensive way to avoid higher costs.
When you take out health insurance to cover you for dental fees, you should be aware that:
- Each health fund determines what level of rebates it will pay based on its own commercial requirements.
- An important aim of some health funds is, quite appropriately, to make profits for their shareholders as well as to provide rebates for their customers.
- The rebates payable on dental fees are unlikely, in many cases, to cover more than 60% for common dental items and may cover less than half the cost of complex and expensive procedures.
- For some people, these rebates may be of assistance in offsetting some of the costs for more expensive procedures but some arrangements may not always represent value for money for routine dentistry for you and your family.
If you have a problem with your private health insurance, you should contact the fund directly. If you are unable to reach a satisfactory agreement with your fund, contact the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman, an independent body formed to help resolve complaints and provide advice and information. The Ombudsman can be reached on 1800 640 695 or by writing to:
Private Health Insurance Ombudsman
St Martins Tower,
31 Market Street,
Ph: 1800 640 695
Fax: 02 9261 5937
Before paying premiums for dental benefits, or selecting a particular benefit table, you should ensure that these costs represent value for you and your family. Please ask us for advice on this matter.