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Health Insurance Comparison for Dental Treatment

Sally Aquire April 7th, 2012 0 comments
Health insurance and dental cover

Many Australians don’t visit a dentist unless they have a dental problem that needs addressing. You might think that this makes sense as a money saving tip but in reality, it doesn’t.

Neglecting your oral health can lead to gum disease, tooth decay and even losing your teeth. These dental problems can all be avoided through regular check-ups and early treatment. If you don’t have dental cover, you may have to pay out of your own pocket for some treatments. You might want to compare health insurance options that include dental care.

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What Does Medicare Cover?

You are not completely on your own when it comes to paying for dental health care. Medicare will cover some surgical treatments carried out by approved dentists. If you need in-hospital dental treatment, Medicare will cover 75% of the costs.

If you are a pensioner or unemployed, Medicare entitles you to free general or emergency treatment with a valid concession card. There may be long waiting times for these treatments, though.

Dental examinations and treatments are not covered by Medicare. A prominent exception to this is the Chronic Disease Dental Scheme.

The Chronic Disease Dental Scheme

Do you have a chronic health issue that can impact your oral health? You may qualify for the Chronic Disease Dental Scheme. The chronic condition must have been present for at least six months. It must also need treatment by a complex care team. This usually involves your GP and at least two other health care professionals. Your GP will decide if you are eligible for this. If you are, he or she will refer you to the CDM program.

Medicare Teen Dental Plan

Do you have teenage children? Young people aged 12-17 may be eligible for the Medicare Teen Dental Plan. This provides free access to dental health check-ups, treatments and some other dental expenses.

Private Health Insurance for Dental Cover

As most people are not eligible for help through Medicare, it’s no surprise that dental cover is a popular health insurance extra. Are you looking to compare health insurance for dental cover? Here are some things to be aware of.

In many cases, there will be fixed benefits for treatments. Be sure to compare health funds as cover levels will vary. The broader your policy, the more extensive your cover will be, but the more expensive your premium is likely to be. Check the restrictions when you compare health insurance policies, and always read the full policy. Some treatments may be limited or excluded from cover. Cheap health insurance will often only cover some of the costs for dental check-ups and treatment.

Some private health funds will offer up to 100% rebates on dental treatment. This usually includes examinations or plaque removal.

How long do I have to wait to see a dentist?

You may not be able to see a dentist straight away if you want to claim for the treatment. If you are arranging private health and dental cover for the first time, or are upgrading to a higher level of coverage, most health funds will impose a waiting period before your cover begins.

Major dental treatment has a private health cover waiting time of up to a year. General dental (including check-ups) often has a waiting period of two months. Some health funds will waive the latter waiting period as a sign up bonus to entice you to join them.

Can I still see my own dentist?

You are not obliged to change your dentist when you sign up for dental cover. Some health funds may allow you to keep your own dentist. This will not be the case with every private health fund, though. With some health funds, you will need to use one of their participating dentists to get the best benefits.

What is restricted or excluded with private health insurance?

Cosmetic treatments are often excluded on dental insurance policies. This may include porcelain veneers, whitening procedures and bonding. Orthodontic treatments are typically covered, though.

You may be tempted to forgo dental cover, especially if money is tight. But by neglecting check-ups, you are unlikely to save money in the long term. You may end up needing treatment that could have been avoided through preventative dental care. Dental cover allows you to keep up with your check-ups, so that this becomes less likely.

Don’t assume that all dental cover is the same, though. Cheaper cover options may restrict or exclude many treatments. Always take the time to compare health funds so that you can get value for money.

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