Caring for our teeth is essential in maintaining our overall wellbeing. Foods that nourish us enter the body through our mouth, so its health is of utmost importance. We invest in procedures and services that help in preserving our dental health. But we all know that these services are more often than not expensive and are not covered entirely by health insurance. That is why most Australians neglect their dental health, and it is also the reason why dentists bulk bill.
Dentists bulk bill: What is it?
Bulk billing is a term used in Australia that denotes to the payment option through the Medicare system. Bulk billing can cover a range of both medical and dental services listed under the Medicare Benefits Schedule. These health services are still under your doctor or dentist’s preference if he wants his professional services to be bulk billed or not. Although it is mostly medical health services that are bulk-billed, some dentists bulk bill in Australia as well.
Dentists bulk bill: How does it work?
Medicare, the universal health care system in Australia, is also the primary health care funder of the country. It is through this health care system that residents get free medical or selected dental treatment. Medicare covers some dental procedures that are necessary for a patient’s wellbeing, but most dental exams and treatments are not. As a matter of fact, dental benefits under Medicare are limited compared to its medical counterpart.
Dentists bulk bill: Medicare schemes
Medicare covers a patient’s dental health services through two schemes: the Child Dental Benefits Schedule and the Child and Adult Public Dental Scheme. Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) offers basic dental service assistance to children 2 to 17 years of age. With a benefit limit set to $1000 per child every two years, the dental services they cover for the children are the following: dental consultation, x-ray imaging, teeth cleaning, use of fissure sealants, dental fillings, root canal therapy, and tooth extractions.
The Child and Adult Public Dental Scheme, passed in early 2017, provides funding for public dental health services for children and adults alike. Both of these initiatives focus on helping Australians find ways to improve their oral and dental health.
Dentists bulk bill: What procedures are and are not covered?
Dental procedures that are diagnostic and preventive in nature are more often covered by bulk billing. Medicare covers imaging (x-rays), dental fillings, cleaning, and fluoride therapy because these dental procedures help prevent more expensive dental problems from happening in the future. Surgeries and other restorative dental procedures may be partially covered, but you have to expect some out-of-pocket expenses. Furthermore, cosmetic dental procedures, since they are for aesthetic purposes only, are not covered by Medicare.
Be reminded that there are different public dental programs and services in each state and territory in Australia. It is wise to inquire from your local government about your dental service benefits so you can take better care of your dental health safely and conveniently.