It’s Your Choice
Frequently Asked Question
These days most people can choose which dentists will provide their dental care.
However, some health funds are attempting to force their members to see the health funds’ dentist of choice. Some funds call these dentists preferred providers or participating providers. They are contractually bound to that health fund.
The Australian Dental Association (ADA) believes that maintaining patient choice is a crucial element to providing high standards of dental care. That’s why the ADA believes you should be fully informed about all the implications that contracted dentistry will have on the dental care for you and your family. To help you understand this issue we have developed this brochure to answer some of the questions that you might have about retaining the right of patient choice of who delivers your dental care. After all, this is one of the key reasons for having private health insurance.
It’s your choice.
You need to be comfortable in talking and being treated by your
dentist of your choice. You need to be comfortable in the fact that
your dentist is recommending the best treatment for you. Continuity
of care is very important in dental care delivery. Your dental health
care will be more effective if you maintain your relationship with your
dentist, rather than having your choice of dentist dictated to by your
Contracted dentists have agreed to provide dental treatment at an
agreed fee with the health fund. The health funds advertise “no out
of pocket expenses’ or “reduced out of pocket expenses” – BUT only if
you see one of their dentists.
This is a very good question and you should ask your health fund
this question. One health fund has not increased dental rebates across
the board since 1994. Many funds do not increase dental rebates
annually. $8.7 billion surplus (in last 10 years), now $3.4 billion surplus
in just the last 3 years.
Health funds have openly and aggressively campaigned to get
dentists to “sign up” to their contracted provider arrangements. Health
funds are openly promoting to patients that they should see a health
fund contracted dentist. Some health funds are offering a higher
dental rebate for each item of service if the procedure is performed by
a contracted dentist. Some funds have even bought their own dental
surgeries and employ their own dentists.