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The role of private health insurers has traditionally been to provide third party funding for dental treatment. In recent years many private health funds have promoted the use of their dental ‘preferred providers’.

These are dentists that are contracted to the health fund and have agreed to provide services in line with the terms and conditions dictated by the fund. Special contractual relationships between a health fund and a dentist should be viewed with caution – often the health fund and their shareholders benefit, not the patient.

Our motivation is the comfort, welfare and long term health of our patients. We attract new patients and retain the loyalty of our existing patients by genuinely caring for them.

We do not rely on health funds to divert patients to our practice with financial incentives and we believe patients should be free to choose their dentist and not be penalised for doing so.

We choose to remain independent, so we can make decisions and recommendations based on the best interests of our patients.

We will not allow health funds to interfere with this relationship and insist they remain third party funders.

COMMENTARY FROM THE AUSTRALIAN DENTAL ASSOCIATION

the ADA believes that the extras rebates you receive from your insurer for dental services have not kept pace. Few insurers cover the full cost of a treatment, with many people left to cover the gap between the premium they pay and rebate they receive.

Insurers are also increasingly in a position to potentially influence how treatments are delivered. Their ownership and operation of dental and medical practices to which they might refer you with the promise of higher rebates can lead to a tiered system for customers, meaning that while you might pay the same premiums as everyone else, you may not receive the same rebates.