Home' News Bulletin : ADA News Bulletin August 2016 Contents PRESIDENT’S COMMENTS
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THE 2016 FEDERAL ELECTION has been held and the Coalition has won with the barest majority.
In the past the Australian electorate tended to switch between the two main sides only when the
incumbents were clearly past their use-by-date. The electorate has changed its behaviour and no
longer has the patience to wait for government to notice the myriad of issues that simmer away. I
hope there will be more commitment by the government to real consultation on important issues.
Meetings with political minders were held during the caretaker period. Hopefully, some traction was
obtained and will result in some positive outcomes. I thank all the members who answered the
call and approached their MPs. The state of the Senate should ensure the CDBS continues for
the foreseeable future, so that is a win for the oral health of the children of Australia, the
ADA and its members.
CHOICE magazine has over the past two months published its assessment of hospital
and general (extras) health insurance. The July issue featured a five page review of extras
insurance. It echoed the assessment of the former CEO of PHIAC who issued a media
release saying that for most people general health insurance was an irrational purchase.
Not surprisingly, it recommends the not-for-profit PHIs and the closed funds such as
Navy, Defence and Police health funds. These are the same funds that APRA showed
returning considerably larger than average percentages of their premiums as rebates.
CHOICE does not give the market an in depth analysis. This is understandable given
there are more than 24,000 policies to choose. It is impossible to do much more than a
selective analysis in a short report.
The CHOICE article confirms a PHI comparator prepared by ADA Treasurer, Dr Terry
Pitsikas. The ADA Comparator has more than 100,000 entries all gleaned from the
documents PHI have to give APRA. Members will be able to use the comparator
to guide patients who ask about the value they receive for their PHI premium and
compare competitors in PHI. The public will also be able to use it to test their existing
policy with the criteria the ADA has developed. It will be available on the ADA
website shortly. Members can also locate other resources the ADA and Branches have
developed for members to use in their practices.
I welcome Senator Nick Xenophon’s announcement during the election of his intention
to initiate legislation to oblige PHIs to provide identical rebates to all patients with the
same policy irrespective of which dentist they attend. This approach by the Senator has
come about due to extensive lobbying by ADA and ADA South Australia Branch. This is a
requirement of the PHI legislation in Great Britain. It could be argued that it was the intention
of the Commonwealth Parliament when enacting S. 63-5(2) of the PHI Act which states:
“A product is all the insurance policies issued by a private health insurer: (a) that cover the same
treatments; and (b) that provide benefits that are worked out in the same way; and (c) whose other
terms and conditions are the same as each other.”
This does not seem to leave any room for differential rebates. Preferred provider arrangements
can only exist because of S. 69-5 (2), which states:
“An insurance policy also covers a treatment if the insurer provides an insured person, or arranges for
an insured person to be provided with, goods or a service that is or includes that treatment.“
I cannot see how giving a contributor a differential rebate is providing a service if there
is still an out-of-pocket expense. It is simply a differential rebate and it should be
regarded as discriminatory and illegal.
At the April meeting of Federal Council a report was considered from the CPD
General Manager about the quantity of audio and video CPD produced for the
CPD portal and CD Dental Files during the past year. Output has almost doubled
since July 2015 while expenditure on production has been cut to just over 25% of the
previous year’s expenditure.
One of the major objects of the ADA Constitution is the promotion of the art and science of
dentistry. Delivery of sound CPD fulfils, in part, this role. This is a tremendous outcome for
the ADA and its members and I thank the CPD staff, CPD Committee and in particular the
dentists who make a voluntary contribution to this production effort.
Postscript: ADA has accepted the kind invitation of the Health Minister to meet with her in early August.
ADA NEWS BULLETIN | AUGUST 2016 | 1
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