The term ‘preferred provider’ has been heavily advertised amongst certain health funds, but what does it really mean,
and why are they telling their customers that they have to attend a ‘preferred provider’ practice in order to maximise rebates?
The dentists at Rockingham Dental feel strongly about why we
are NOT a ‘preferred provider’ practice.
We think it’s important to address some of the issues and explain how ‘preferred provider’ arrangements work, and why you should be able to choose the dentist who you prefer to see.
There are many health funds that do provide the same amount
of rebate regardless of which dentist you see, and at Rockingham Dental we accept all health fund rebates on the spot using our convenient HICAPS system.
The term ‘preferred provider’ may suggest that the dentists who belong to the scheme have been selected for reasons of competence or sterilisation standards etc. – this is completely false. Any dentist can be a ‘preferred provider’ if they sign a contract with a private health fund and agree to abide by this health fund’s terms and conditions.
Why do we choose not be associated with this scheme?
Simply put, we believe it’s not in the patient’s best interests. Private health funds are essentially private businesses, operating to make a profit! We do not believe having a third party influencing our decisions on the best treatment for your dental health is an appropriate level of care for any of our patients.
Once a dentist enters into an exclusive arrangement with a health fund, the funds may reduce their rebate over time, while the dentist’s overheads will consistently increase. We are concerned that ‘preferred provider’ dentists may work at an increased speed, cut corners, or make decisions about treatment based on the rebate payments offered by the health fund, rather than what is in the best interest of the patient. Unfortunately there are examples of dentists over-servicing and sending lab work to cheap overseas dental laboratories when decisions are based on health fund rebates.
The Australian Dental Association (ADA) has also expressed similar concerns about the effect of third parties influencing decisions for patients.
Here at Rockingham Dental Centre, we will always strive to provide the best quality treatment at an affordable price. What’s best for you shouldn’t be influenced by a third party and the treatment decisions made through consultation should stay between the patient and dentist.