Contracted provider arrangements disadvantage patients and dentists

10 May 2018

One of the great inequities in the private health insurance space, and there are a great many if you're a consumer, has been the practice of some funds to divert their policyholders to dentists with whom they have a contractual arrangement. 

These patients are lured with the prospect of higher rebates - the trade-off, of course, is loss of continuity of care from their long-term dentist – but many other policyholders who choose to go with their own dentist and retain the right of choice that lies at the heart of the Australian healthcare system, end up losing with smaller rebates handed back to them. 

The ADA has long opposed these contractual arrangements which it contends are not only discriminatory to consumers but also disadvantageous to dentists who are increasingly finding themselves losing out as funds open their own clinics and divert patients to locations which are often in the same suburb. 

Further proof that being a contracted dentist sounds better in principle than actual practice is BUPA's decision to create a new tier of contracted dentist, the Members First Platinum dental network, which it glowingly describes in these terms: 

"This new network, which will operate at select clinics across Australia from September, will provide our customers with more options about which dental clinic they choose and how much they pay for general dental check-ups and preventative care. The current Members First network will continue to be available for Bupa customers to utilise, with the benefits of the current Members First arrangements continuing to apply in full." 

The establishment of this new network not only disadvantages BUPA's own policyholders via discriminatory rebates but creates a two-tiered contract network that essentially alienates their own contracted providers. 

If you're a contracted dentist, and want to relinquish your contracted provider status, you can find out everything you need to know at Private Health Insurance Exit Strategy Resources