This article is the first of three that address the questions and concerns patients have around private health insurance in relation to dental care. As a Gold Coast dentist who owns the longest operating dental clinic in the Gold Coast region – and who has chosen not to put the private health funds before my patients – I feel qualified to address these concerns. If you would like to know more, we recommend you contact the Australian Dental Association (ADA) and hop onto the time2switch or fairhealthcare websites.
I’m starting with a common question: why isn’t my dentist a preferred provider or member’s choice dentist?
With the pressures of managing household and personal budgets, I can totally understand why this question comes up. We’re all looking for ways to drive the value of our dollar further. So when it’s time to settle your dental account, most people want to see as much money as possible returned to them from their health fund membership.
Here’s the challenge for me as a dentist.
Together with the entire Define Dental team, we’re focused on providing personalised care for every patient we see. It might sound clichéd and old-fashioned, however, we very much regard our patients as friends, and we treat them as such. Not only do we treat them as friends, they have become friends, receiving treatment from us over many years in many cases. We even see generations of families, from grandparents to young children. That’s just how it is at Define Dental.
For me, the best way to answer the question why Define Dental is not a preferred provider or member’s choice dentist with health funds is that we put our patients first. Your health is our priority – and the treatment and care we provide are uncompromising and always delivered in your best interests.
In simple terms, this means the relationship we have with our patients is at the forefront of what we do.
By contrast, if we sign a contract or agreement with a health fund provider that makes us a preferred provider or member’s choice dentist, this places restrictions on the services we can provide, as well as the quality at which we can provide them.
Rather than honour our patients’ needs and interests, we’ll have to consider the contract we have with the health fund provider first.
If that doesn’t fit within the context of the agreement we’ve signed, there’s a real dilemma for us.
Do we not provide what we consider the best for our patient or breach our contract with the health fund?
Well it’s been an easy answer for us over the years. Put the patient and their needs first. Every time. Why? Because our relationship is with the patient, not their health fund. In fact, being a preferred provider or member’s choice dentist restricts us.
It’s our responsibility to look after our patients’ health and the health fund’s responsibility to help the patient by covering their health costs.
By operating independently of the prescriptive health fund contracts, we are sending a clear message: we put our patients’ health first and our relationship is with them, not with the health fund.
Not signing contracts with health funds means we’re removing the “middle man” who dictates – or at very least influences – the treatment we can and can’t offer.
Define Dental’s patients know our expertise is in health care – that’s what we focus on. The private health fund’s expertise is in financing health, however experience shows their interests don’t always align with the patient’s.
If you’d like to explore the topic of preferred provider or member’s choice dentists further, you can refer to the following useful resources for more information, or just ask us when you next visit. We’d love to share our philosophy of care with you so you understand exactly why we’re the Gold Coast’s longest operating dental practice.
www.time2switch.com.au – Information on this site can assist with your decision about the suitability of your health fund. A little time invested in this research may benefit your health and your budget.
www.fairhealthcare.com.au/partners – Fair Health Care Alliance offers a personalised comparison service.
You can also visit the Australian Dental Association for more detailed information about choosing a private health fund.
Define Dental is the longest operating Gold Coast dentist. Located in Benowa on the Gold Coast, Define Dental has a team of dentists, led by Dr Les Jabbour, all of whom are committed to helping you achieve your best oral health. With a focus on education and raising awareness about common dental questions like whether private health insurance for dental is worth it, the Define Dental team is committed to putting the health of all patients where it should be – first and foremost, over and above provider contracts with private health funds. Learn more about our approach to care for our patients when you book an appointment today on 5597 2100.