The disparity between dental fees charged and dental rebates paid by insurers remains high and the differential seems to be increasing rather than narrowing. Private health insurance funds are permitted each year by the Health Minister to alter the premiums on their policies. On 1 April 2011, private health insurance premiums rose an average of 5.6% Australia’s then Health Minister, the Hon.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) indicates that while Australian health consumers are satisfied with their experiences with dentists, cost remains a significant barrier. The ABS report 4839.0 Patient Experiences in Australia: Summary of Findings, 2010-11 noted that just over one in four persons who needed to see a dental professional had delayed seeing or had not seen one in the previous 12 months because of the cost (26%).