If you have put off your child’s regular dental checks due to the cost then please keep reading, because we have information which may no longer allow you to use lack of finances as an excuse.
In February of this year the Minister for Health and Sport, Hon Greg Hunt MP, announced an increase to the benefit cap for the Child Dental Benefits Schedule. Mr Hunt confirmed that the cap was reinstated to $1,052.00. This means that eligible families will be allowed to receive $1,052.00 worth of dental services, per child (aged 2 – 17 years), over two calendar years, for free.
The Child Dental Benefits Schedule also has limits on the services which are eligible. “Services that receive a benefit under the program include examinations, x-rays, cleaning, fissure sealing, fillings, root canals, extractions and partial dentures. Many of these services have claiming restrictions. Services can be provided in a public or private setting. Benefits are not available for orthodontic or cosmetic dental work and cannot be paid for any services provided in a hospital” (Department of Health, 2017).
The Child Dental Benefits Schedule is income tested which means that not all families are eligible for it. If you are receiving the Family Tax Benefit Part A then you are automatically eligible. Other families will have to apply for the benefit. As a guide, the Department of Human Services confirm the following conditions are to be met for eligibility:
- Your child must be aged between 2 and 17 years on any day in the calendar year;
- Your child must be eligible for Medicare; and
- You must be receiving certain payments for at least part of the year.
If you are still unsure the Federal Government is endeavouring to send notifications out to all families who are eligible for the Schedule.
There are three different ways of utilising the Child Dental Benefits Schedule:
- Bulk billing: Wherein you are not out of pocket and the dental practice claims the benefit from the Department of Health;
- Patient claim: Wherein you pay the full amount at the time of consultation and then seek reimbursement from the Department of Human Services;
- Unpaid account: Wherein the dental practice provides you with an itemised account of the services rendered. You then send that account to the Department of Human Services who will issue a cheque, made payable to the practice. It is your responsibility to send that cheque to the practice in payment of the account.
If you are wanting to utilise the Child Dental Benefits Schedule for your child’s consultation, please advise prior to the appointment. Our receptionist will then tell you our preferred method of payment.
More information about the Child Dental Benefits Schedule can be found on the Department of Health’s website here. Alternatively, please contact our office or book an appointment.
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Department of Health. (2017). ‘Guide to Child Dental Benefits Schedule’. Retrieved from: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/42FC28F2797C4A10CA257BF0001A35F6/$File/Guide%20to%20the%20Child%20Dental%20Benefits%20Schedule.pdf