In an increasingly challenging business environment, private health insurance is emerging as one of the key issues facing the dental profession.
The 2014 ADA Membership Survey revealed that the issue of private health insurance was a pressing one for the profession, second only to workforce issues, and the corporatisation of dental practices, which came in third at 29%.
While its role in providing rebates for dental, medical and other services such as physiotherapy and optometry is now accepted as a standard part of modern practice, private health insurance is also responsible for causing problems for consumers and dental professionals alike with its lack of policy transparency and hard-to-understand rebate procedures.
Whether it's setting up their own clinics or reportedly seeking to influence the kinds of treatments a patient can receive via annual limits or business rules, private health insurance also has the potential to exercise an increased influence over clinical decision-making in dental practices.
The ADA response to date has been to engage constructively with the industry with a view to developing a code of conduct to govern interactions between the dental profession and private health insurance.
While this hasn’t delivered the hoped-for results as yet, the ADA remains committed to continuing to work in this collaborative manner.
However in recognition of the often negative effect the behaviour of insurers is having on the profession, the ADA is launching in the coming weeks a campaign called Time2Switch.
A so-called disruptive campaign with the twin aims of encouraging dental professionals and patients to lodge complaints with the Private Health Industry Ombudsman (the Ombudsman), and for consumers to compare their existing policy and choose a new one that better meets their needs, Time2Switch aims to make the industry, government and regulators sit up and pay attention to the dental profession’s concerns. dental laser tips
ADA members will be equipped with a tailored website (time2switch.com.au), a comprehensively-detailed policy comparison tool, and a digital resource kit which includes form letters to send to the Ombudsman, pop-up counter cards, and a handbook to step dentists and practice staff through conversations with their patients, both in-person and online.
The Time2Switch campaign is an integral part of a concerted effort by the ADA to make sure that private health insurance meets the needs of healthcare professions and the people who use those services, rather than the other way around.