From 2014 to 2016 the Commonwealth Government assisted an estimated 3.4 million children in improving their dental health through the Child Dental Benefits Schedule. Now this great government initiative is under attack! Suggested changes to the scheme would see patients only able to access the funding at public dental clinics, broadening accessibility issues.
Should these changes be implemented eligible patients will no longer be able to choose the dental centre for their treatment based on location, convenience and consumer preference but would now be limited to available public dental clinics which can see patients waiting extensive periods for treatment. In a recent article by the Australian Dental Association (ADA) it was stated that patients could “now be forced to travel long distances to receive the dental care they need, assuming of course that they can afford the transport costs for what could turn out to be in some regions a round trip of many hundreds of kilometres. For those cannot travel, the wait time for the services to come to them could blow out considerably, endangering their oral health.”
The Child Dental Benefits Schedule currently provides eligible children with a $1000 free dental benefit* over a 2 calendar year period and covers selected services including: examinations, x-rays, cleaning, fissure sealing, fillings, root canals and extractions.
In 2014 and 2015 many families were surprised that they were eligible for the free $1000 benefit*. To gain access to benefits children must be eligible for Medicare, must be between 2 and 17 years of age for at least 1 day of the calendar year with the child or parent, guardian or carer receiving Family Tax Benefit Part A or another relevant government payment.
Dentists at Pacific Smiles Dental are proud supporters of the Child Dental Benefits Schedule and want to ensure children have access to quality, convenient and professional dental care when they need it.
With the government set to go into election on 2 July there MAY only be a few months remaining for eligible patients to access the care available to them. We know how important it is for children to establish good dental health habits whilst they are young so we encourage you to share information about this government scheme with your school community so more families can take advantage of the scheme before it may be lost.
To see if your child is eligible or to make an appointment please click here or call your local centre.
We look forward to helping the children of your school smile for life!
*Free when services covered by the Commonwealth Government’s Child Dental Benefits Schedule are bulk billed by participating dentists for treatments provided to eligible patients.
Source: Australian Dental Association, “New dental scheme will be like Hunter Games” 11 May 2016.