Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Child Dental Benefits Schedule risks being chopped

The Child Dental Benefits Schedule is in danger of not continuing after 1 July. If this is the case, there appears to be no replacement scheme other than a vague possibility that funding could go to the States.

ADA Inc. is concerned about the future of the scheme following a recent meeting Federal Health Minister Ms Sussan Ley had with the National Oral Health Alliance, which included ADA Inc. She told the Alliance that she didn’t think the means-tested scheme was an effective use of funds and foreshadowed further changes, with funding to be allocated elsewhere.

This arrangement would leave the three million children eligible to receive services under the CDBS with reduced access to the vital preventive treatment the scheme currently offers. The scheme provides for up to $1000 of basic dental treatment over two years for eligible children aged two to 17 years.

The recent National Audit Office report on the scheme only criticised the scheme for poor coverage of the eligible population (30%).  Medicare statistics for 2015 also show that $312 million has been spent on 850,000 patients, which means the average cost of care is only around $367 per child. ADA also knows that 96% of patients were treated on a bulk billed basis.

ADA is urging its members to tell patients to lobby Federal MPs demanding that the scheme continues for the health and welfare of young Australians whose families are least able to afford dental care.