For most Australians, a trip to the dentist Chatswood is done if only they have to. They shy away mainly because of the high fees of dental services. Plus, rates vary widely from one dentist to another, meaning you can’t predict how much your next dental appointment may cost you.
This is the case because although the Dental Board of Australia (DBA) through the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) regulates the conduct of dentists, they only focus on quality of car and not on the fees for services.
This has pushed more Australians to consider private dental insurance plans because, to be honest, your normal health insurance cover does not help much when you’re getting a full crown.
But the problem is, there are dozens of insurance companies. Which one should you choose?
In this guide, we won’t tell you which insurance plan is the best. Instead, we will help you understand how dental insurance plans work and tell you what to look for in browsing the details of these dental insurance plans.
Dental Health Insurance Guide
The first thing you need to know is that dental insurance plans are never “one size fit all.”
There are different plans for different people depending on factors such as age, your general health condition, your dental health condition, and so forth. So, when looking for a plan, take your time to analyze the details so you can have the one that suits you best. Bottomline is that it should cover you effectively without leaving you a hole in your wallet.
So, What Kind of Dental Cover is Available?
Dental insurance in Australia is provided through normal health insurance plans. You’ll find what dental care procedures are covered by your health insurance.
But don’t expect too much. A basic health insurance plan rarely covers anything more than regular check-ups and preventive care in general. If you want extras, especially cosmetic dentistry procedures, you may need to pay additional on premiums.
Health plans provide two types of dental coverage: general and major dental coverage.
- General dental coverage – this refers to annual dental checkups, cleaning, and fluoride treatments. You’ll also be covered in case you need minor fillings or most of the treatments that are part of preventive dental care.
- Major dental coverage – this is for major dental procedures including complex fillings, bridges, extractions and orthodontics.
Pick which cover you want. For younger people, a general dental coverage is better because they still have healthy teeth and gums and may not need a lot of dental work in the short-term. As you get older, your dental health declines. This is when a major dental coverage becomes most useful.
The cost of major dental coverage is, of course, higher than that of general coverage.
How to Choose an Insurance Provider
Younger people in relatively good health again have an advantage because of the most reasonable general dental plan, which is usually offered by most providers. It’s more difficult to choose among major dental covers. Here, you’ll find a lot of variations in price and coverage.
Here are the factors that hold sway you to the right decision:
- Your age – younger people don’t need expensive dental insurance plans. But if you’re older than 45, you may need a solid cover.
- Your dental health – how are your teeth now? Have you had issues with your gums or teeth lately? Do you have sensitive teeth? Do you have tooth decay? If your mouth is healthy, then you don’t need expensive insurance coverage. But if you already have issues with your teeth or gums, you need a more robust cover.
- Your finances – dental health is just an extension of general health. You can’t really separate the two. You’re not in perfect health condition if your teeth have decay and your gums are receding. As such, if you have always paid a premium to keep your general health in top shape, you should do the same with your teeth. Pay a premium and you’ll have great teeth.
After considering those three factors, choose from the many plans on offer by considering the following factors;
- Are there annual limits?
Most funds set an annual limit for each “extra” while others don’t have such limits for certain extras. Depending on your dental health, always go for the plan with the highest annual limit or one that has no limit in the first place. The lower the limit, the less you’ll benefit.
- Is there a waiting period?
Certain plans also require that you wait for a certain period before any dental procedure can be done. This is what is known as the waiting period. Most general covers have a waiting period of two months while major covers may have waiting periods of up to 12 months. Look for a plan with the lowest possible waiting period.
- What will my out-of-pocket contribution be?
One research showed more than 77% of Australians with dental cover still pay for their treatment.
This means there are a few plans that cover everything, most just cover part of the cost. Check this out before agreeing to a plan. The aim is to contribute as little as possible without compromising on quality of services.
- Are there “No Gaps” benefits?
Providers that offer “No Gaps” benefits are simply those that pay everything. You won’t pay for anything for dental services such as cleaning, x-rays, removal of plaque, and others as agreed in your contract. If possible, these are the covers you should get.
If you don’t have a dental insurance plan yet, now is the best time to have one. Don’t wait until you have a huge dental bill. By then, it’s too late!