01.Dental care costing Australians $7.4bn
Australians are paying $7.4bn for dental care, much of which is spent on private health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs, according to the Australian Dental Association (ADA).
Meanwhile, government figures show private health insurers paid out $2bn for dental services out of a total $3.9bn worth of payouts for general treatment services in 2012-13.
Despite dental care amounting to 51% of insurers' costs for general treatments, Australians on average are only getting back half of what they pay for dental care with private health insurance. But that varies greatly, anywhere from a payout of 60% to as little as 32%.
Given many people pay more in private health insurance premiums than they get back in benefits, it may be worth looking into dropping your extras cover.
Dr Karin Alexander from the ADA says dental fees would be reduced if private health insurers were held to account. While many people blame dentists for the high cost of dental care, “private health insurers should be compelled to ensure that their rebates adequately reduce patients’ out of pocket costs, rather than allow them to shift the blame to healthcare providers.
“There has been little legislative or policy action to compel private health insurers to provide an adequate level of rebate for dental services,” she says.
When CHOICE looked at dental fees last year we found it’s costly to run a dental practice, with 60-72% of total income going towards costs.
The ADA points out that for the past five years, the increase in average dentists’ fees has been below the average increases for private health insurance premiums and the health CPI.
Want to figure out if you should drop extras insurance? Or compare private health insurance?