ADA’s advice to consumers? It’s Time2Switch

Following last week’s announcement of a 4.49 per cent premium increase, the Australian Dental Association (ADA) is calling on consumers to review their Extras policies when it comes to dental treatment.

“Premium levels are only one part of the equation,” said ADA president Dr Hugo Sachs. “Without a commensurate review of rebates, consumers’ out-of-pocket expenses will continue to grow and make consumers believe that it is the fees being charged by practitioners that are the cause of the problem.

“That is why the ADA will continue to promote its Time2Switch campaign. Until we have true private health insurance reform, consumers will not receive value for money from their Extras health insurance policy.”

More Australians are covered by Extras policies than hospital policies (13.5 million vs 11.3 million). Extras policy-holders access dental services more than any other ancillary health services. It is, therefore, crucial that rebate levels for dental services keep pace with premium increases.

“Private health insurance premium increases have been higher than average dental fee increases for each of the last eight consecutive years” Dr Sachs said. “Minister Hunt’s work to reform private health insurance must also include Extras insurance, not just hospital cover.”

The Time2Switch comparison tool helps better inform consumers about the value of general treatment policies when it comes to dental treatment.

Dr Sachs continued: “Time2Switch has seen almost 4,000 complaints lodged with the Commonwealth Ombudsman, representing almost 84 per cent of the total number of private health insurance related complaints received in 2015-16.

“We hope the Health Minister takes this opportunity to work closely with the dental profession to expand the scope of reforms to cover Extras policies so that consumers are better able to access the dental care they need.”

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