9300 2332

Why we choose not to be a ‘Preferred Provider’

You will receive uncompromised service and treatment . The services we deliver to our patients has no constraints, and cannot be influenced by any third party.

 

At Discount Dental we accept and treat patients from ALL health funds.
For your convenience, you can claim your health fund contribution on-the-spot using our HICAPS system.

What is a preferred provider?

The term “preferred provider” is not a reflection of the quality of the dental practice, their standard of clinical care, or the skills or ability of the dental team which can leave some patients feeling confused.

A preferred provider is a dental practitioner, or a dental practice, who has entered into a contract with a particular health insurance company.

By entering into the contract, the practice, agrees to accept a fee schedule and any associated terms and conditions as determined by the respective health fund.

So, dentists, or dental practices, who choose to be preferred providers are actually contracted to the health fund.
In return for becoming a “preferred provider”, the health insurance company ‘recommends’ the “preferred provider” dentist/practice and refers their members to that dentist/practice.

The health fund may also advertise/incentivise “no out-of-pocket expenses” or “reduced out-of-pocket expenses” to their members, but only if you see one of their “preferred provider” dentists.

Some private health insurance companies actually own the practices that are “preferred providers” and employ the dental practitioners. Which many patients are unaware of.

In recent years Private health funds and large corporates have been quietly buying up many of the smaller practices in Australia.
In recent years Health funds have made significant changes to these terms, for example in January of 2019 hbf changed the preferred provider scheme, for more information on this please click here.

At Discount Dental we believe you should be Free to choose your Dentist

At Discount Dental, we strongly believe that private health insurance companies should not influence their members’ rights to choose the dental practice, and dentist, providing their care.
We believe patients should not be penalised for choosing to attend a dentist whom has chosen to remain independent form these contracts with the big players in the private health industry.

Patients should be free to choose to see whom ever they want to and not be dictated to by Private health funds or “encouraged” to go where they suggest.

We believe the Australian public prefers to choose from any practice, regardless of health fund influences.

There are multiple reasons why we have chosen not to become a “preferred provider” and remove ourselves from such schemes
these include:

  • We are dedicated to providing affordable service and high-quality treatment to our patients.
  • We are committed to providing personalised care.
  • Our appointments are not rushed, and we take the time to ensure our patients are feeling relaxed and comfortable before, during and after treatment, and they feel completely satisfied with their treatment direction.
  • We believe our services and treatment should not be influenced by a third party such as a health insurance company.
  • We are not willing to compromise on the quality of our service or materials.

Below is an extract from an article published on the ADA website (www.ada.org.au).
Another step toward the end of Preferred Provider Schemes (25 October 2018).

“Private health insurance is sold as allowing consumers choice; but in reality, the current system offers differential rebates based on who provides that service and restricts that choice. If you hold an extras policy with a health fund then you should get exactly the same rebate as anyone else who holds that policy regardless of where you live or which dentist provides the treatment. (Dr Hugo Sachs, President of the Australian Dental Association).

The ADA has always maintained that preferred provider schemes are not in the best interests of patients or dentists and have called on all health funds to dismantle their schemes and pay the same rebate for the same treatment under the same policies. This position was echoed in the findings of the Senate Inquiry into the value and affordability of private health insurance which recommended that Commonwealth legislation is amended to prohibit the current practice of differential rebates for the same treatments provided under the same product in the same jurisdiction.”

‘The problem with preferred providers’

In the Bite Magazine (www.bitemagazine.com.au) article:
The problem with preferred providers (February 10, 2015).
Chris Sheedy spoke with “experts about the future”.
Julie Parker, co-founder of Julie Parker Dental Management stated that:

I recently looked into what happens to your income as a business owner when you become a preferred provider, and also what you have to do with the structure of your business and what you need to do as a practitioner of dental services when you discount your fee,” says Parker,

The benefits you receive in terms of more people coming through the door ends up creating a false sense of security. Suddenly, as a business, you’re functioning on a much lower dollar amount and compromises have to be made. They might include quality of staff, lower wages, quality of materials, and less funds for staff training and development. The result of becoming a preferred provider is a reduction in your ability to provide the sort of service that you would usually choose to provide…” (Julie Parker).

The Australian Dental Association (ADA) shares Parker’s worries.”