Child Dental Benefits Schedule

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Around 3.4 million children have access to free general dental care thanks to the Child Dental Benefit Schedule (CDBS); a $2.7 billion measure introduced by the previous Labor Government and being honoured by the Liberal Government to combat the nation’s declining oral health in children.

The means-tested benefit came into effect throughout Australia on 1 January 2014, replacing the Medicare Teen Dental Plan (MTDP). Under the schedule, children aged between two and 17 years who are part of a family in receipt of Family Tax Benefit Part A or a relevant Government payment are entitled to a wide range of basic dental services. The total amount of financial support is capped to $1000 per child over a two consecutive year period.

Is my child eligible?

Children part of a family in receipt of Family Tax Benefit Part A or children/families receiving a relevant Australian government payment can benefit. Your child must be aged between two and 17 years, and hold a valid Medicare card. Eligibility will be determined every calendar year in accordance with government criteria.

What dental services are covered?

Some of the approved treatments covered by the Medicare-funded CDBS include: dental assessments, cleaning and scaling, digital X-rays, fillings, fissure sealings, extractions, partial dentures and root canal therapy. These services can be provided in public or private settings and may have claiming restrictions. Benefits will not be paid for high-end dental services such as cosmetic and orthodontic treatments or any dental services provided in a hospital.

What do I need to do to benefit from the schedule?

Earlier this year, Medicare sent confirmation letters to eligible families, teenagers and approved care organisations. If you have been contacted, then all you have to do to start receiving quality, Commonwealth-funded dental care is schedule your child’s dental assessment at your local Dental Care Network dentist. Please confirm whether the practice accepts CDBS benefits when booking your appointment.

If you are unsure of your child’s eligibility, simply phone a Dental Care Network dentist and quote your Medicare number, address and child’s full name and DOB. Alternatively, you can contact Medicare directly (132 011) for confirmation.

Will I have to pay any expenses?

If the dentist bulk bills the service, you will not have to pay anything. You will just need to sign a form allowing the dentist to claim directly from the Department of Human Services. Your Medicare number will be required.

If the dentist does not bulk bill the service and asks you to pay in full at the end of the visit, you will need to take (or send) your receipt to a Medicare Service Centre to claim your dental benefit.

What if my child’s treatment plan exceeds $1000?

If your child’s required treatment is expected to exceed the cap within a two year period, you will be notified during the initial dental assessment; where your dental practitioner discusses suitable treatment options and costs. No dental services will be performed without your prior consent. If your child’s personalised plan changes at any stage, you will be notified to discuss options and the dentist will proceed in accordance with your wishes.

Why is visiting the dentist so important?

Bi-annual dental assessments play a vital role in preventative care. A simple “check up” provides our dentists with an invaluable opportunity to carefully examine your child’s mouth, teeth and gums; looking for signs of tooth decay, gum disease, loose or broken teeth, damaged fillings and more. Detecting problems in their early stages can prevent them from escalating into more serious complications in future that may be irreparable or require complex treatment to restore oral hygiene. This is often time-consuming, costly and could have been avoided with frequent dental assessments if the existing problem was identified and treated early.

Dental assessments also combine preventative education and professional cleans to ensure hard to reach plaque is removed. Your child’s dentist is happy to demonstrate correct at-home brushing and flossing techniques to help your child maximise great dental habits for maintaining life long teeth.

Find your local Dental Care Network dentist today and schedule a dental consultation so you and your child’s teeth are kept in healthy shape.

Can private insurance be used for child dental benefits schedule?

You cannot use both private insurance and the CDBS to pay for the same dental service, nor can you 'top up' your CDBS with your private insurance. However, you can opt to use your private health insurance to pay for any services not included under the CDBS but these will need to be billed separately.

What if my child is turning 2 or 18 sometime during the year?

Your child will be eligible for benefits under the CDBS providing they are aged between 2 - 17 on any one day of the calendar year.

What happens if my child does not use the $1,000 over the two years?

The $1,000 amount is a cap, or the most you can claim under the CDBS. If you do not use this amount in the first year it can be transferred to the second year if your child is still eligible. After this time, any remaining balance will not be carried forward.

Do all DCN dentists accept CDBS patients?

If your child is eligible for assistance under the CDBS schedule, find your local Dental Care Network dentist today and book an appointment. If the dentist bulk bills the service, you will not have to pay anything. You will just need to sign a form allowing the dentist to claim directly from the Department of Human Services. Your Medicare number will be required.

If the dentist does not bulk bill the service and asks you to pay in full at the end of the visit, you will need to take (or send) your receipt to a Medicare Service Centre to claim your dental benefit.

How can you claim benefits under the CDBS?

You will need to ask your dentist to see if their clinic bulk bills or not. If your child's dentist bulk bills, you will not need to submit a claim. You will simply sign a form allowing the dentist to claim from the Department of Human Services. However, if your dentist does not bulk bill, you will need to pay the dentist normally and make your claim with a receipt from the dentist at a Medicare Service Centre, or download a Medicare Claim form and post it to the Department of Human Services.

Click here to download more helpful information and FAQs.

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