If you're a new parent, you may have heard of bulk billing in the context of dentists. But what is bulk billing and how could it help you in funding your children's future dental care? Read on to find out more.
What is bulk billing?
Bulk billing is a payment option set up under Australia's Medicare system. Bulk billing is intended to help parents to pay for dental treatment for their children through the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS), provided they meet certain eligibility criteria. Your child must be between 2 and 17 years of age to be considered for bulk billing.
The dentist will bill Medicare directly for any services that have been provided to your children, and you won't be charged for any booking or admin fees. Not all dentists bulk bill so always check with the practice before you join.
You will need to assign your child's right to a Medicare benefit in order to qualify, provided your child is eligible, and then complete the requisite assignment of benefit form. Remember that not all treatments are covered, so always check what's included with your dentist. You'll still be able to claim dental benefit even if your dentist doesn't bulk bill, although you will have to pay the clinic in full at the conclusion of your child's treatment, and then send your receipt to Medicare for a refund of benefits.
The children's dental services you can claim for include:
- fissure sealing
- root canal work
If you are claiming benefit for a child under the CDBS, as the parent or guardian you'll need to provide certain information in order for the dentist to bulk bill Medicare for his services. The information that you must give to the dental clinic in order to claim includes:
- the full name of your child
- the date of the service or services
- the item number shown in the Dental Benefits Schedule that pertains to the service your child received
- the dentist's name and their provider number (obtainable from the dental clinic)
- details of the total costs charged for the service
If you have children, you may be able to claim for their dental treatment through Medicare if your family is eligible. Not every dental clinic provides a bulk billing service, but it is well-worth registering with a practice that does as not having to pay up-front for treatment could mean that your kids can still have the dental treatment they need, even if money is tight.