Since January 1st, 2014, the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) has given over 3 million Australian children, aged between 2 and 17, access to basic dental services. This Government funded initiative, which replaced the Medicare Teen Dental Plan, has helped to ensure those who may not have had access to such benefits, now do.

Let’s uncover exactly who is eligible to take advantage of these benefits and what they entitle children to.

What benefits are eligible children entitled to?

The CDBS provides eligible children with a range of dental benefits and treatments.

These include:

• Check-ups and examinations

• Teeth cleaning

• Fillings

• Root Canals

• Tooth extractions

• Fissure sealing

It is important to note that benefits do not include orthodontic or cosmetic dental work. In addition, treatment must be completed outside of a hospital to be eligible.

Are your children eligible?

Children are assessed to ascertain whether they are eligible to receive the benefits at the beginning of each calendar year.

Children must be:

• Aged 2 to 17 years, for any one day of the calendar year,

• Eligible for Medicare, and

• A recipient of a Government payment or a member of a family that receives Family Tax Benefit Part A (FTB-A) or another relevant Australian Government payment, such as a parenting payment, Disability Support Pension or Career Payment.

A full list of the eligible payments is available through the Department of Human Services.

Families of children who automatically qualify will receive letter from the Australian Government regarding their eligibility and the benefits on offer. There is no need to apply for this.

If a family’s Government payments cease throughout a particular calendar year, as long as a child is of the correct age and is eligible for Medicare on the day of dental service, benefits will still be received, as children only need to be a recipient of payment at some point throughout the year.

What is the value of benefits available?

Eligible families are entitled to a capped dental benefit of $1,000 per child over a two calendar year period. This period commences at the start of a calendar year, not from the date when a dental appointment is made.

Once a child reaches their limit, no further benefits will be made available under the CDBS until the 2-year period comes to an end. If a child continues to remain eligible, a new $1000 benefit will be granted subsequently, for another 2-year period.

If dental treatment is received in a public clinic, claims will typically be bulk billed via Medicare and there will be no out-of-pocket costs. There is no need to submit a Medicare claim.

If a child requires dental treatment that is outside of the available services, or the required payment exceeds $1000, parents are required to cover the remaining balance themselves and this excess may then be covered by private health instance.

Furthermore, if an eligible child does not use his or her available benefit, it cannot be transferred to another member of the family.

Any benefits received under the CDBS will not count towards the Medicare Safety Net or the Extended Medicare Safety Net thresholds that are made available each financial year.

Do all dentists accept Child Dental Benefit Schedule patients?

It is voluntary for Australian dentists to participate in the CDBS. Those that hold a general or specialist registration with the Dental Board of Australia and have a Medicare provider number are eligible to provide services covered under the schedule.

It is wise to ask your dentist to see if they accept CDBS patients and if they do, they can also verify your child’s eligibility before commencing any treatment.

A participating dentist is also required to discuss all necessary treatments with a parent or guardian plus associated costs prior to commencing work. After this has been discussed, a consent form must be signed.

Treatment costs will either be bulk billed or if that service is not available at the time, a bill for the treatment will be given to a child’s parent to be paid in full prior to any claim being made.

It is important to be aware that benefits cannot be claimed under the Child Dental Benefits Schedule and from a private health insurer at the same time, for the same dental service.

Finding out more about available dental benefits

Eligible Australian children are already enjoying the benefits that the CBDS offers and taking advantage of a wide range of treatments without being out of pocket. If your child is eligible, and you are looking for a local and family friendly dentist, call Australia Dental today to book an appointment.

Whether it is your child’s first dental visit, or there is a need to address a concern regarding their teeth, Australia Dental has a range of services on offer to suit your needs. Talk to us about services we cover under the The Child Dental Benefits Schedule.

Click here for more information about dental treatments from Australian Dental.