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Private Health Funds


Time to Switch your Health Fund?

How much are you getting back from your health fund? With premiums going up and up and rebates not keeping pace, getting value from your health fund is not easy.

The Australian Dental Association has recently created a website called “” Take time to compare and review your extras cover. You may find it is Time2Switch.

Preferred Providers in Dentistry

Just what is a health fund preferred provider?
Many people have been misled by Health Funds marketing the services of their contracted dentists as “Preferred Providers” with the inference that they have been selectively chosen on the basis of skill and integrity.

Nothing could be further from the truth!
Health fund preferred providers dentists are those who have agreed to Contract terms and conditions dictated by a Health Fund. They provide services to the Health Fund members in line with the conditions and restrictions the Health Fund stipulate in their insurance policies. They do not have special skill sets or other attributes to elevate them above independent dentists. They have become preferred providers to Health Funds to benefit their own commercial interests.

Large Health Fund exploitation

The bigger private health funds (BUPA, Medibank Private, HBF, NIB) are desperate to control dentistry because they make most of their profit from the sale of “extras” policies. Dentistry makes up about 50% or “extras” spend.

These big funds are part of major organisations chasing big profits.

Patients with extras cover should have the right to choose any dentist they wish rather than be cajoled into using a dentist based purely on cost and rebates. We have seen much evidence of preferred providers oversubscribing dental work.

Options with extras cover

  1. We encourage you to do your homework. Approximate what you spend on extras cover each year and then calculate what your average annual dental bill is (and optometry and physiotherapy). You may be better off without the extras cover!
  2. Try a smaller mutual fund that works on 5% profit, not 22% like the big ones -eg Defence Health, ACA, HPL, Navy Health, HIF, Frank, Australian Unity. These are often not-for-profit organisations often marked as “members own” health funds.
  3. Keep your hospital cover with your larger fund but get extras cover from a smaller mutual fund.