Many health funds are promoting that their members should see a preferred provider to receive a higher rebate or no gap on dental treatment.
At Sunshine Coast Smile Centre we are often asked why we are not a preferred provider.
It is for this reason we feel it is important to inform our patients on all the possible implications that seeing a preferred health fund provider may have on their dental care.
“Patients should be informed about the implications that seeing a preferred provider may have on their dental care”
Why Not A Preferred Provider
- The term preferred provider is often misunderstood. Preferred providers are not selected by health funds because of their qualifications or ability. Dentists apply for preferred provider status in order to increase the volume of patients referred to them by the health fund. Volume rarely equates to quality.
- Preferred providers have a financial agreement with the health fund and their fee schedule and any associated constraints are set by the health insurance company. It is not always the case but this can result in compromised care.
- Patients should have the freedom to choose which dental practice they attend. Seeing a preferred provider to reduce out of pocket expenses removes the freedom of choice.
- If we were to become a preferred provider we would not be able to discount our fees as we do now in certain circumstances because we would be obligated to charge a specific fee.
- We currently send our lab work (crowns, bridges and dentures) to local laboratories. Many preferred providers send their lab work to cheaper laboratories who send the work overseas. This saves up to 75% off the lab fee but the quality of the work is often sub standard.
The contract agreement between a preferred provider and the health fund is often beneficial to the dentist and not the patient.
Patients should be informed about the implications that seeing a preferred provider may have on their dental care.
Sunshine Coast Smile Centre provides quality dentistry to all our patients regardless of which health fund they are with. We provide treatment that is unbiased and is individually tailored to each patient’s need.
For obligation free advice go to www.ada.org.au