We get questions relating to private health insurance/health funds every day. Here are our answers to the 3 most commonly asked questions…
How much will my Health fund cover?
This is a very difficult question for us to answer. I recently read an article from ABC News which stated there are over 20,000 different health insurance policies active on the market today between 34 health insurance providers! If all of these policies differ in some way it is impossible for us to know what your rebate will be. For this reason we will always provide our patients with a written treatment plan with the required item numbers and fees – that you can then contact your fund to find out what your rebate/out of pocket expense will be.
Are you preferred provider with any health funds? What is the difference between a preferred provider and non-preferred provider?
A preferred provider may be called various things by a health fund – for example, a “Member’s First Provider’ or “Participating Provider”. These providers are basically contracted to a health insurance company and bound by their rules and price schedule. The dentists themselves are not chosen by the health funds for their ability and expertise.
While we completely understand that people want to get the most value out of their health insurance, after all it does cost a lot to have this cover and dentistry is not cheap! Unfortunately for us to become a preferred provider it would mean we would need to cut corners on the standard of care we offer our patients. As a practice we pride ourselves on the quality of service we provide and we are not comfortable with compromising these standards. We have heard of some alarming instances where PP practices have had to cut costs – some examples are
- Using foreign labs that are much cheaper but quality assurance standards are much less.
- Materials used – we use the best quality materials but there are some cheaper ones out there that are not as good.
- Cutting corners with infection control… I’m not sure if you have heard about the practices in Sydney that lost registration due to infection control standards being so poor…
- Poorly trained staff – some PP practices don’t have the time or resources to train their staff. This often leads to a high turnover of staff as well.
- Time spent with patients. As they need to fit more patients in their day to meet costs – there is less time spent with patients. We don’t like to rush our treatment making sure it is done properly the first time.
More information from the Australian Dental Association (ADA) on Preferred Provider health funds can be found in this brochure.
Which Health Funds do you recommend?
We advise all our patients to do their research when looking into their health insurance cover, everyone has differing needs for themselves and family so what may be good for me may not be the best solution for you. As far as dental cover goes we will always recommend choosing a health fund that will not penalise you for choosing a provider you are comfortable with. Some examples of health funds that let you choose your provider without losing out on the rebate amount are: HIF, Goldfields Medical Fund, health.com.au, HCF (in WA only). These are just a few there are more out there!
If you are lucky enough to have access to corporate cover through your work then often their rebates are higher than the covers open to the general public. Some corporate covers where we have seen fantastic rebates are GU and Police Health.
So there you have the top 3 answers to the commonly asked questions about health funds. If you have any other questions regarding health insurance or dental treatment please contact us.