Dentists want health savings accounts

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The Australian Dental Association has proposed the creation of government-backed consumer health savings accounts as a mechanism to secure more private funding for dental and allied health services. 

Under the proposal, which in part appears to be driven by the desire to challenge the role of private health insurers in the funding and management of dental services, government would provide tax offsets and concessions to encourage consumers to save for their own dental care.

According to the association, the cost of the incentives would be $157 million in the first year, potentially rising to $559 million if 10 per cent of the population signed-up for the accounts.

The model was developed by the Centre for International Economics on behalf of the Australian Dental Association.

According to the report, there is currently no assistance offered to Australians on low incomes without general treatment private health insurance to help them afford dental and allied health care.

However, the report and proposal appear significantly aimed at general treatment provided by health insurers, rather than Australians without health insurance, with the association questioning the lack of annual increases in rebates for services such as dental "and limited movement in the value of annual limits."