How do I know if I am eligible for the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) funding?
From January 2014, eligible families, teenagers and approved care organisations will receive a letter to confirm eligibility. A child’s eligibility is assessed at the beginning of each year and lasts the whole calendar year. A child is eligible if they are aged 2–17 years for at least 1 day of the calendar year, and are part of a family receiving certain government benefits as outlined on the Department of Health and Human Services website: http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/medicare/child-dental-benefits-schedule
You can confirm your child’s eligibility and balance amount by accessing your Medicare online account at my.gov.au or calling the Medicare general enquiries line on 132 011.
Do all dentists provide dental treatment under the CDBS?
Dentists can choose whether they will participate in the CDBS. Some dentists prefer not to treat children or may wish to avoid the administration associated with this programme. For this reason, it is a good idea to ask your prospective dentist specifically whether they are participating before attending for care.
Is treatment bulk billed or will parents need to pay a ‘gap’?
Fee arrangements will vary depending on which dentist you see. Dentists can choose to set their fees, with patients then claiming a partial rebate from Medicare after paying full fees. Alternatively, dentists may decide to ‘bulk bill’ for treatment so that no fee is payable directly by the patient. Patients of the Dental Centre will be able to take advantage of a bulk billing arrangement.
How should I choose a dentist for my kids?
It can sometimes be difficult to find a great kid’s dentist. Asking friends and family is often a good place to start. Many dental practices now also have web sites where you can learn about the facilities and staff. Look for dental clinics that make a special effort for kids. Signs that a dental practice is equipped to treat children include having a child-friendly area in their waiting room, fun and colourful treatment rooms and staff who are specifically trained and experienced in treating children. If your child is very nervous or has a condition that may make dental treatment difficult, it is a good idea to look for a clinic that offers sedation options such as nitrous oxide (“happy gas”) to make your child’s visit as comfortable as possible.
Community forums such as coffsforkids.com also provide recommendations from other parents in the community on which dental clinics provide positive dental experiences for children. If you are still not sure, consider visiting your prospective dentist’s office and taking a tour before you make your decision. You can take an online tour of our practice at www.coffskidsdentist.com.au
How can I access my family’s Child Dental Benefit Schedule funding?
Once you have received your eligibility letter and selected your dentist, you will need to book an appointment and advise that you are eligible for the Child Dental Benefits Schedule. When you attend, the dental practitioner will examine your child’s teeth and develop a care plan in accordance with the schedule guidelines to meet your child’s specific needs.
For further information on the Child Dental Benefits Schedule you can phone the Medicare general enquiry line on 132 011 or contact a participating dental clinic. To book an appointment at The Dental Centre or arrange a tour of our facilities, phone 66523344.