Does the NDIS pay for dental?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funds a range of services and supports for people with a disability. However, there are some kinds of supports that it will not cover.

Does the NDIS cover dental?

The NDIS does not fund dental services or treatment. This is because the NDIS is not designed to provide services or supports that are funded by the health care system. For example, in addition to dental services, the NDIS does not cover medication or general medical services and treatment.

The NDIS funds a range of disability-related supports based on a person’s individual needs. For example, it can fund allied health services such as occupational therapy, speech therapy and physiotherapy where it is needed because of a person’s disability. It can also pay for aids and equipment, such as wheelchairs and hearing aids, related to a person’s disability.

Does Medicare cover dental?

Medicare covers some dental services for eligible children and adults. This is funded through the Child Dental Benefits Schedule and the public system.

Child Dental Benefits Schedule

The Child Dental Benefits Schedule provides a benefit of up to $1,000 over two calendar years for basic dental services. This includes check-ups, x-rays, cleaning, fissure sealing, fillings, root canals and extractions. To be eligible, the child must be between two and 17 years old, eligible for Medicare, and the family must be getting an eligible government payment. This includes if the child is receiving the Disability Support Pension.

Public dental care

You may also be able to get free publicly funded dental care. Rules vary depending on which state or territory you live in, but generally if you have a Pensioner Concession Card issued by Centrelink or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Health Care Card or Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, you will be eligible. You can apply to get a Pensioner Concession Card from Centrelink if you receive the Disability Support Pension and meet the eligibility requirements.

Keep in mind that treatment options may vary depending on where you live. There may also be long waiting lists to access public dental treatment.

Does private health insurance cover dental?

Another option is to take out private health insurance with dental cover. This may help you to reduce your out-of-pocket costs for a variety of medical services, as well as non-medical health services, such as dental, depending on your policy.

Extras with ‘general dental’ cover can help cover the cost of treatments such as check-ups, scale and cleans, extractions, fillings and x-rays. Extras with ‘major dental’ can typically be used to cover more complex services such as root canals and dentures.

You may have to sit through a waiting period before you can claim. Insurers typically apply a two-month waiting period for general dental and a 12-month waiting period for major dental. However, some insurers may have special offers which waive the waiting periods on dental.

Insurers will also typically only let you claim back a percentage of your dental costs and this will also generally be subject to annual benefit limits.

Another possible option to consider is a dental loan (a personal loan that is used to pay for dental work). However, before doing so, it’s important to carefully weigh up the pros and cons of taking out a loan product and to consider what other financing options may be available.

Main image source: AnnGaysorn (Shutterstock)

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