As you look into purchasing health insurance in Australia, you'll notice that not everything is immediately covered. While hospital cover is one of the basic parts of a standard policy, there are extras to think about – such as eye care, physiotherapy and dentistry.
These can be separated from the main policy chiefly for cost reasons. People can choose their level of access to private health benefits, and by ring-fencing some, they can customise their coverage to make it more cost-effective.
However, there is also the issue of insurance cover quality. You may not feel like you require dental cover, but the facts tell a different story.
Dental issues in Australia
According to a 2010 study by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), 15 per cent of people over the age of 15 experienced toothache in the 12 months leading up to the survey.
While such a problem does not always require dental care, the statistic is telling about some of the risks involved. Others, such as losing teeth, are more pressing.
According to the AIHW research:
- People aged 15-24 have lost an average of 2.2 teeth
- Those aged between 25 and 44 have lost 3.3 teeth on average
- For 45 to 64 year olds, that number stands at 6.0
- And people over the age of 65 have an average 11.9 missing teeth
Replacements can prove expensive, while a dental policy can support treatments in this regard – as can preventative care and improved dental hygiene through regular checkups.
The final statistic to glean from this study is the social impact of bad dental care.
A quarter of adults over the age of 15 said they have felt uncomfortable about the state of their dental appearance in the 12 months prior to the survey. So, for millions of Australians, it is something that is close to their hearts.
Understanding corporate dental insurance
Dental care is no doubt an important issue for many, and this can be a useful realisation for an employer.
We have discussed in the past the benefits of a corporate health plan for companies of all sizes. Attracting, retaining and engaging employees is as important as ever – from both a productivity and financial standpoint – and a wealth of research shows that workers value help with their health insurance costs.
A corporate health plan is therefore a useful tool for engaging on a new level with employees. But even in the business sense, the issue remains: should the employer include dental care in their policy?
For this, we need to look at what people want, and then what they can afford.
We've touched upon the number of adults who would like to improve their dental appearance, although the AIHW statistics also show that just under half of all Australians have no dental insurance whatsoever.
If an employer can fill this gap and pay for part or all of their dental care needs as part of the company health plan, it is sure to be appreciated by the employee – meaning it is likely to show in the office.
Family dental plans
Many people like to establish a good level of dental care from an early age, and it usually begins with parents and the creation of a family health insurance plan.
In fact, more than half (53.8 per cent) of all Australians over the age of two have some level of dental insurance, AIHW discovered.
If you are starting or adding to your family, the teething issues felt by infants are well known, and it is often a good idea to begin a dental insurance plan from an early age – if finances permit.
For those who feel like it may be money down the drain, the same report found the majority of adult policyholders in 2010 received either all (7.8 per cent) or some (78.7 per cent) of their dental costs on their last visit.
However, if accessing the benefits of a dental plan remains financially difficult, your health insurance broker can help.
At HICA, it is our job to find a health insurance policy that suits in terms of quality and cost – whether it is for a company, an individual or family.
Contact us today on 1300 44 22 01 for free and impartial advice.