The Australian Dental Association (ADA) has called for tax incentives to allow individuals to save for their own health care as an alternative to taking out general treatment cover.
Releasing the findings of a report ‘Saving for Ones’ Care’ ADA President Dr Hugo Sachs claimed that extras cover was not good value for consumers.
“Existing funding arrangements for dental and allied health care are not meeting the needs of many Australians,” Dr Sachs explained.
According to the ADA, many consumers with general treatment cover:
- Are penalised through differential rebates because they prefer to see a practitioner of their choice
- Pay high out-of-pocket costs due to gaps and exclusions in policies
- Receive minimal annual increases in rebates for services such as dental care, and
- Are subject to annual limits that often restrict what treatment they can have.
“Governments could use tax incentives for health savings accounts to offer positive incentives to save for one’s care in a way that is consumer-centred, without barriers to consumer choice, and where consumers are rewarded for proactively managing their dental and allied health care in a way that is easily understood,” added Dr Sachs.
Health savings accounts present an opportunity to encourage Australians to save for their dental and allied health care, overcoming the limitations to general treatment cover and introducing a reward-based proactive approach to health care.
“The reality is Australians have been experiencing more out-of-pocket costs and are paying more in premiums over the last 15 years,” Dr Sachs said.
“The system is not working and it’s time to go back to the drawing board.”
What do you think of the ADA’s proposal? Would you prefer to have more control over where your private health insurance is spent?