Looking for dental health insurance or to review your existing policy? Compare funds and find an option to smile about.
Dental treatment in Australia can be a prohibitively expensive business, especially if you don't have private health insurance. One of the primary reasons Australians take out private extras cover is to help with dental costs. Here we take a look at all the funds available, and discuss their advantages and limitations.
Use the comparison engine to filter by dental service
Tired of trawling through multiple policies trying to work out which type of dental treatment is covered? Simply complete the form above, hit Search Policies and use the blue filter button in the top right-hand corner to sort policies by general dental, major dental, endontic and orthodontic.
Avoid dental waiting periods with these sign up offers for March
Australian health funds have launched a range of March only deals, many of which enable you to serve no two or six month waiting periods on extras services which includes dental, meaning you can claim instantly. Some of the providers currently offering these bonuses include:
- AHM. Purchase a Black & White Package or any Black Extras Cover combined with any AHM Hospital Cover and serve no waiting periods on general dental claims.
- Australian Unity. Purchase any combined policy and claim instantly on all general dental services except for wisdom teeth extractions, periodontics and endodontics.
- CBHS. Serve no waiting periods on general dental and major dental (excluding orthodontics, crowns and bridges). Family and couples policies also receive a $200 gift card, while singles policies receive a $100 gift card.
- health.com.au. Get your general dental waiting periods waived when you purchase any combined hospital and extras policy.
Check out the full list of health insurance offers from participating funds here.
Looking for information on specific dental services?
- What type of dental treatments can I get cover for?
- What should I consider when comparing dental policies?
- What waiting periods apply to dental claims?
- Is a dental plan worth considering?
- Does the public health system offer any cover for dental?
- Are there any risks associated with dental tourism?
- Dental coverage offered by participating health funds
The type of dental cover you choose generally depends on your age, family status, income and health. Individual dental services are typically categorised under:
- General dental. This includes cleaning, small fillings, plaque removal and X-rays. If you're young, healthy and single and only visit the dentist once or twice a year for minor treatments, it's probably all you need.
- Major dental. This option is more suitable for families and older people, as it covers more complex procedures such as braces, dentures, orthodontics, wisdom teeth removal, crowns, bridges and root canal work.
Some health funds allow you to access general or preventative dental treatments such as cleaning, scaling, fluoride treatments and mouth guards for free, or with no out-of-pocket expenses. If you are currently with a provider who doesn't offer this service it could be worth considering a switch to one who does.
Keep the following factors in mind when searching for the best policy:
Waiting periods exist to stop people from only taking out health insurance if they suddenly have to undergo an expensive procedure. This benefits both policy holders and insurers, as abuse of the system would quickly result in increased premiums:
- Major dental. Waiting periods for can range from six to twelve months months depending on the treatment.
- General dental. Waiting periods can be as little as two months or waived altogether for simple preventative treatments.
In order to attract new members health funds regularly offer sign up deals that allow you to instantly claim on extras services such as general dental. However, it's uncommon for major dental treatments to be included in these promotions.
As well as taking out private dental cover, there is the option of a discount dental plan. These plans do not pay for dental expenses, but provide discounted prices from a network of participating dentists in exchange for an annual membership fee. Both schemes have their advantages and drawbacks, which are summarised below:
|Type of dental cover||Pros||Cons|
|Dental health insurance|
|Discount dental plan|
The only instances where Medicare covers dental work for adults are:
- If it is needed to protect the patients general health.
- If it forms a part of a Medicare approved treatment, such as dental work prior to radiation treatment for oral cancer.
Hospitalisation for dental-related treatment may also be covered by Medicare (e.g. if you develop an infection from having a tooth removed). However, Medicare does not pay any associated fees for dentists, doctors, radiologists or anaesthesiologists. Nor does it pay for any follow-up dental care once the condition has been treated.
What is the Child Dental Benefits Schedule?
The Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) is a program run by the Australian Government for around 3 million eligible Australian children. It provides up to $1,000 in benefits over two consecutive calendar years. Dental services that are covered include:
- Teeth cleaning
- Fissure sealing
- Root canals
- Partial dentures
Services can be provided in a public or private clinic, but restrictions do apply to the benefits available for many services. No cover is available for orthodontic or cosmetic dental work, and there are no benefits for treatments in a hospital.
To receive benefits under the CDBS, a child must be eligible for Medicare, aged between 2 and 17 years at any time in the calendar year and have received a specified payment from the Australian Government (e.g. Family Tax Benefit A) at any stage during the calendar year. In most cases you will be notified if your child is eligible at the beginning of the year.
Due to rising health insurance costs in Australia, a new industry has sprung up known as dental tourism. Major dental procedures are often much cheaper in developing countries, so many people opt to travel overseas to receive treatment. You can pay as little as one quarter of the cost of having the same procedure in Australia. However, you must be aware of the dangers associated with this industry:
- No travel insurance. Medical tourism is usually excluded from travel insurance policies. This means you cannot claim for any direct or related costs if there are complications with the treatment.
- Higher chance of something going wrong. Developing countries don't have the same standards and expertise as medical professionals in Australia.
- You may end up paying more. Fixing a botched procedure can end up costing you even more, especially if it has to be rectified in Australia.
- No recourse for reimbursement. If you fall victim to fraud or medical malpractice your ability to pursue legal action is minimal to non-existent.
This is a broad overview of how dental treatment is covered by health funds in the finder.com.au provider panel. You can find a complete breakdown of how each Australian health fund covers specific dental treatments by using the navigation portals at the top of this guide.
|Health fund||Annual benefit limits for dental treatments||Waiting periods||No-gap dental?|
|CBHS Health Fund|
|Teachers Health Fund|
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*The offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of products finder.com.au has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your personal financial circumstances when comparing products.