Cheap dental insurance in Australia?
June 15, 2011 8:40 PM   Subscribe

What's the best health insurance in Australia for dental work? I have a chipped tooth that needs capping and some wisdom teeth that need removing, and I don't want to wait a long time. I can't afford to spend that much either.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
Ouch. That sounds expensive.

Private health insurance ain't cheap. I'm on a fairly basic plan with HCF and it costs me ~$95/month but it covers dental, hospital, optical etc.

There's this insurance search tool (see box on the right side of page), but I don't know how reliable it is.
posted by smithsmith at 8:56 PM on June 15, 2011

I think it cost me ~$100 for a single wisdom tooth removal at NIB's own dental centre (done in under 10 minutes, which is a bit freaky). I have their absolute most basic hospital+extras plan which I think covers 50% of dental up to ~$500 a year (plus two free inspect/clean sessions), so maybe you'd want one of their more expensive plan that has higher limits for serious dental work.

I think a few of the different companies have promotions going on at the moment that include no waiting periods for extras, which sounds like something you may want for the cap.

If you have all four wisdom teeth out at the same time, isn't that normal done in a hospital? You might be able to go the Medicare route for that at least, which might change what plan you need.
posted by trialex at 9:10 PM on June 15, 2011

I have one of the more basic NIB plans (it's about $100 a month for a couple) and when my partner had all 4 wisdom (in the surgery over two visits, not in the hospital) removed I think we were out of pocket about $400. They also give you 2 no-gap checkups a year at their own centres. For most health funds the wait is about 6 months on dental (sometimes one to two years for "major dental", the definition of which varies between funds) - they'll periodically advertise "no waiting periods" promotions as trialex mentioned, so I wonder if you called and asked them (NIB or any other health fund) to waive it they might be willing, for the sake of getting a new customer?

FWIW, when I used the iselect tool smithsmith linked last year, it offered me a range of plans that all cost at least twice what I pay now and didn't have as many features. It may have gotten more reliable but I would use it as a jumping-off point rather than a deciding factor. If I had a need as specific as yours (good dental coverage, low/no waiting period, high cap), I'd narrow it down to a handful of good-looking options and then call them up and ask them for the best deal they can do for you. I've switched between plans with the NIB a few times now depending on my circumstances and they've always been quite helpful.

If you do need to go the hospital route, then that would be covered by private hospital insurance, which is different from your dental cover. It's also worth noting that if there's a six month waiting period on your $100-a-month plan (so, $600) to have wisdom teeth out where you'll still be $400 out of pocket, it may be cheaper to pay for it yourself. I get my money's worth between optical, dental and physio but YMMV. (There are of course other good reasons for buying private health cover, such as skipping the public hospital waiting lists for some procedures.)
posted by jaynewould at 9:45 PM on June 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Can't recommend any particular private health care - I'm with Medibank Private through a government job, so it's a pittance for hospital & extras, but I've not yet taken any real advantage of it apart from one of the two free dental checkups/cleans I get per year as part of the package - but quite a lot of dentists offer finance these days. Sure it might be more expensive in the long run, but chipped and wisdom teeth can be problematic and painful and it depends on what that's worth to you.
posted by tumid dahlia at 9:55 PM on June 15, 2011

We just shopped around a few months ago, and moved from NIB to HCF.

Make sure to check the wait time, two months would be standard.
posted by wilful at 12:14 AM on June 16, 2011 [2 favorites]

Have you plugged your details into yet?
posted by PercyByssheShelley at 1:21 AM on June 16, 2011

The big funds all have deals on right now where they will waive most waiting periods if you join: Medibank, HBA, MBF, NIB etc. June is known as 'crunch time' in the industry due to the EOFY tax rebate situation.

Just be careful because the wisdom teeth removal may be classified 'surgical extraction of teeth' and thus fall under a non-general dental category with different maximum benefit and waiting period.

If you find it confusing, and most people do, I recommend that you go in and see a rep face to face or at least speak to a call centre rep rather than just signing up online. And shop around with a calculator.
posted by evil_esto at 2:39 AM on June 16, 2011 [1 favorite]

What about getting my chipped tooth capped? Do I really need to wait a year for that?
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:16 PM on June 16, 2011

Went with nib.Thanks
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:46 PM on June 29, 2011

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