DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN INDEPENDENT DENTIST AND A PREFERRED PROVIDER
The term “Preferred provider” is used by health insurance companies to label a health practitioner that have been contracted to meet a health fund’s terms and conditions with respect to financial and other arrangements. A dentist chooses to join a “Preferred provider” scheme and in return they get patients referred to them by the health insurer.
In other words, a practitioner does not earn the label of being a “Preferred provider” because of better capability or skill but rather because they need the patient referrals from the health insurer. Our Dentists at Lydiard St Dental Clinic do not get referrals from health insurance companies but instead, patients come to us solely due to the reputation that our Ballarat dentists have build over time.
As a consumer, it is important to be aware of the differences between our dentists and “preferred providers”:
The Australian Dental Association does not endorse or support “Preferred providers” schemes.
“Preferred providers” are not selected by the health insurers based on their clinical capability but instead because they have agreed to meet the contract term and conditions set by the health funds. Appropriate standards of practice and service delivery are not the health fund’s top priority.
Dentists under a “preferred provider” scheme operate under a set fee system and the quality of care may be severely jeopardised due to resorting to cheaper alternatives.
Our Ballarat dentists are committed to a high standard of care as this is the way to ensure long-term cost savings for the patient by maintaining their oral health in top shape. Therefore, we choose not to operating under a “Preferred provider” scheme. However, we do have HIPCAPS and accept all health funds and is able to process the rebate on the day of treatment.
Since dentists are under a “preferred provider” scheme operate under the fees stipulated in the terms and conditions in the “preferred provider” contract, they don’t reduce their fees. This could result on overcharging the patient just to meet the set fees. Our dentists are not under such obligations and have the freedom of reducing fees based on the actual circumstances.
You can be confident that we will always put your health first. Our dentists in Ballarat at Lydiard St Dental Clinic do not have any agreements or contracts with any “Preferred provider” scheme. We believe that the scheme is not in the best interest of our patients, therefore we have not joined the ‘preferred provider” scheme.
You and everyone have the right to make an informed decision. We hope this information will help you make an informed decision in deciding whether to use a “preferred provider’.