Let’s be honest; going to the dentist is not in your list of favourite things to do. Not only is it about having a dental problem that needs elaborate procedures that may be uncomfortable, but it also requires you to pay a significant amount of money for it. What’s worse is that most health insurance companies that help you with your medical expenses do not shoulder or cover your dental needs. This fact is one of the reasons why Australians keep on neglecting their dental health. So let us ask, can dentists bulk bill their services? And if so, do they?
Do dentists bulk bill: What is bulk billing?
Bulk billing is the term used when a doctor/dentist charges your medical/dental needs to Medicare and accepts your Medicare benefits as full payment for your treatment or procedure. This term just means that you will not have any out-of-pocket charges for the services you received; Medicare got you covered.
Do dentists bulk bill: Who is eligible for bulk billing dental services?
Under the Child Dental Benefits Schedule, children 2-17 years of age can benefit from bulk billing their basic dental services such as scaling and cleaning, oral examinations, fissure sealing, minor fillings, simple tooth extractions, and x-rays. As long as the parents are Medicare cardholders and receive Family Tax Benefit Part A, a child can enjoy a benefit cap worth $1000 to be used within two years.
Do dentists bulk bill: Does dental bulk billing cover adults?
No. The Federal Government has stopped the benefit for adults to have their dental procedures bulk-billed. However, under the Child and Adult Public Dental Scheme, a preventative dental procedure or treatment may be provided for adults in public dental establishments such as community clinics, government hospitals where they pay a minimal fee, or it’s completely free. Adult patients should only present their concession cards during their dental visit, and they can enjoy the benefits of ‘almost free’ dental services. Unfortunately, that is not considered bulk billing.
Do dentists bulk bill: Other considerations about dental bulk billing
Bulk-billing dental services may sound pretty amazing, but here are some considerations about it.
Very few dentists bulk bill. Yes, you get to experience free dental procedures for your kids, but your private dentist wouldn’t offer it. Instead, you would have to search far and wide for the very few dentists who bulk bill. You usually would find them in government hospitals, community clinics, and other public health offices.
The long wait. Because Medicare covers the basic dental services, almost every parent in Australia would want to have their child checked by a bulk-billing dentist. Because the demand is high, but the list of available dentists is short, you can expect that your treatment would take days to be approved.
Dental services feel rushed. Well, not all the time. But you could really encounter either a very nice dentist who is thorough with his work or a bulk-billing dentist who wants to finish a procedure quickly because there are more patients waiting for their turn outside. The result is a poorly managed treatment and a feeling that your child was not taken good care of by a dental professional.
Not all dental procedures are covered. CDBS covers bulk billing for preventative dental treatments, but do not expect your child’s orthodontic treatments to get covered as well. Also, a benefit cap of $1000 every two years is established. So, as long as your dental procedures are worth $1000 or less for two years, then Medicare gets the bill for you.