ADA NSW is reminding those with health insurance cover for dental treatment that now is the time to use or lose their dental benefits before the cut-off date of 31 December 2023.
“Prioritise that dental check-up before the summer break. Patients with private health insurance premiums should maximise the value out of private insurance cover which includes dental check-ups,” ADA NSW president Dr Dominic Aouad said.
Most private health insurance (PHI) funds have dental benefits that may expire on 31 December. If these are not taken up by year-end, patients and their teeth will be left without the care they have paid insurance for.
“Patients may have delayed making that annual oral health check-up or have forgotten they have outstanding benefits under their policies,” Dr Aouad said.
“Dental check-ups and preventive care like scaling and cleaning are part of keeping good oral health. It is essential that if patients require treatment this is booked in and completed before the end of the year so they can maximise the use of their PHI.”
In 2020–21, private health insurance funds paid around $2.2 billion in net benefits.
In addition to private health patients, ADA NSW says the 31 December deadline applies to eligible families who can access the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS). The CDBS provides Medicare-funded dental treatment of up to $1052 and it goes up again in January 2024. This covers two calendars, for eligible children aged 0 to 17 over a two-year period. It covers various treatments, including examinations, X-rays, cleaning, fissure sealing, fillings, root canals, and extractions. It can’t be carried into next year.
But because there is little awareness of the scheme, only about a third of eligible Australian children are currently accessing the CDBS. The CDBS could be better promoted by the Federal Government, according to ADA NSW.