Using Your Private Dental Health Benefits Before the New Year

Using your private dental health benefits before the new year

Using Your Private Dental Health Benefits Before the New Year

Do you have private extras insurance covering your dental health?

It is common for health fund benefits to expire at the end of the year on 31 December, and to renew on January 1. Only a small number of Australian funds reset at a different time of year, such as July 1. It is much more common for the new year to be the reset period.

If you are approaching the benefits renewal date, any unused benefits may go to waste and will not usually be able to be used in the future, because benefits do not usually roll over.

Therefore, it’s common practice for people with extras insurance covering their dental health to check in on their available benefits towards the end of the year, and consider whether they should visit a dentist.

If you have dental health benefits left over, you could save up to 50 to 70% on your dental visit (depending on your insurance and services required).

By fitting your appointment in December, you will leave your benefits for the following year untouched. This will then allow you to utilise your benefits to the fullest next year too.

What dental services does my extras insurance cover?

What your extras insurance policy will cover depends on what specific extras you have selected when taking out the policy. Common dental extras offered by popular insurance providers include:

  • General dental. This often includes preventative dental treatment at your dentist. Preventative dentistry can include services such as examinations, dental cleaning, mouthguards for sport, extractions, fillings, and X-rays.
  • Major dental. As the name suggests, this is preserved for more major dental procedures that have a greater level of complexity. This could include coverage for services at your dentist or other dentist near me such as the removal of wisdom teeth, dental veneers, dental crowns and dental bridges, or dentures.
  • Endodontic dental. This includes root canal procedures to restore teeth that have become infected, and treatment of gum disease or periodontitis. Occasionally, orthodontic dental may also be offered or covered by policies. However, this is typically only for more advanced policies and not offered for more basic level policies.

For a definitive answer on what is covered by your policy, consult your health insurance provider.

Can I claim immediately after taking out my extras policy?

Typically, you cannot claim immediately after taking out your dental policy. You will usually have to wait for a standard waiting period before you can gain access to a rebate when receiving certain services at your dentist.

For general dental, this is commonly a two-month period. Major dental, however, often requires a one-year period before claims are made. Some other more complex procedures may have an even longer wait time.

For this reason, it may be sensible to take out your policy in anticipation of future needs you are not aware of yet. Waiting for a dental issue to arise before taking out an extras health insurance policy can leave you in a situation where you cannot use your extras when you need them.

By taking out private health insurance or extras insurance for your dental health with a private health fund of your choosing you can then receive rebates on dental services at your local dental clinic or dentist.

How much can I save with my extras insurance on dental services?

Again, this will be specified in your policy, and would probably have been provided as information when you were first considering which private health fund to use. While the specific amount will vary depending on the health fund and the dental service you are seeking from your dentist, some general trends do emerge.

There will often be a limit on annual coverage, for example, a cap of $700 a year saved on dental services. Also, within the annual limit, there may be specifications on what can be spent on specific types of services, such as a cap on major dental or dental crowns.

Within these parameters, there may be a limit on the amount of cash back per service – which typically falls between 50 and 70 per cent of the cost of the service that you are having undertaken at the dentist. That is to say, you can often save 50 to 70 per cent of the cost of the dental service by utilising your dental health insurance.

Using your benefits wisely

It is easy to find yourself in a situation where the benefits of your extras health insurance policy have remained unused throughout the year. This can create stress towards the end of the year, and it is a good reason to change your approach next year. When you book your end of year appointment to utilise your health benefits before they expire, you can also consider booking in your next appointment for the following year. This will then allow you to space out your rebates over the year and hopefully not end up in a situation where you are in a rush to use your benefits.

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