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Issue #1563      5 September 2012

Dental alert

The government has announced the closure of the Chronic Diseases Dental Scheme from November 30, 2012. Anyone currently receiving treatment under the scheme has until that date to conclude a course of treatment. The scheme closes to new entrants on September 8. The Chronic Diseases Dental Scheme provided for up to $4,250 over two years in Medicare rebates or bulkbilling by participating dentists.

It is not being replaced by another scheme under Medicare. Instead, the government will increase funding to states and territories to expand their public dental services for people on low incomes. The funding will commence in July 2014. It is contingent on the cooperation of states and territories which cannot be guaranteed.

Patients with chronic illness, such as HIV-AIDS or diabetics-related oral health problems, whose income is low enough to qualify for public dental treatment can join the long waiting list in their state or territory’s public system. Those on higher incomes will have to pay the full amount at a private dentist or go without treatment if they cannot afford it. See Editorial page 2 for more information.

Next article – Editorial – Universal access to dental care needed

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