The recent reports on the decreased levels of benefits for dental care under general treatment health insurance policies are no surprise to the Australian Dental Association (ADA).
The association’s Time2Switch campaign pushing for private health insurance to provide consumers better value for money and access to dental care, has seen complaints about private health insurance—particularly as it pertains to dental services—skyrocket to represent over 80 per cent of complaints lodged to the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman for 2015-16 alone.
Time2Switch is a dental profession-developed comparator that assesses private health insurance policy rebates for general dental, major dental, endodontic and orthodontics services.
Time2Switch also provides an opportunity for consumers to complain to government, and to urge the incoming Health Minister to reform the private health insurance industry.
“Existing comparison websites only compare policies provided by a certain proportion of private health insurers; some of which are driven by commissions to create sales,” explained ADA president Dr Hugo Sachs.
“While the government’s own privatehealth.gov.au website allows consumers to search for the range of policies available, it does not go the next step and provide greater analysis of these policies in relation to their value when it comes to particular types of treatment including dental care.”
The ADA’s Time2Switch website’s comparator assesses the dental rebates provided by private health insurance policies in relation to a proportion of the average fee for that service, and the competitiveness of these rebates compared to other insurers’ policies.
Recent news reports about the decrease in the level of benefits provided by private health insurance to consumers for dental services reflects the ADA’s analysis that the premium increases consumers have to bear every year have been higher than the cost of living index for the last 15 years.
“We hope the incoming Health Minister hears this loud signal that private health insurance industry reform must happen, so that policies provide value for money and for the care they need,” said Dr Sachs.
“We urge the incoming Health Minister to consult the dental profession as to how this can occur.”