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Health Insurance (Dental Services) Bill 2012 [No. 2]

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2010-2011-2012

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

THE SENATE

 

 

Health Insurance (Dental Services) Bill 2012

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of Senator Bushby)



 

Health Insurance (Dental Services) Bill 2012

Explanatory Memorandum

 

GENERAL OUTLINE

The bill requires the Minister for Health, in conjunction with such other Ministers as may be necessary, to redress past and future inequities that have arisen from the operation of subsection 10(2) of the Health Insurance (Dental Services) Determination 2007 .

The bill describes the inequities imposed on dental practitioners by the operation of the subsection of the Determination and specifies five courses of action which the Minister can take to redress those inequities.

It establishes a timeframe in which action is to be taken and requires a report to be tabled in both Houses of Parliament detailing the actions taken.

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

Clause 1 - Short title

Clause 1 provides for the Act to be cited as the Health Insurance (Dental Services) Act 2012.

Clause 2 - Commencement

This clause sets out the commencement date of the bill as the day of Royal Assent.

Clause 3 - Definitions

Clause 3 specifies the definitions for “dental practitioner”, “Determination”, “inequity” and “medicare benefit”.

Clause 4 - Minister must redress inequity

Clause 4 specifies that the Minister must take action to redress past and future inequities arising from the operation of subsection 10(2) of the Health Insurance (Dental Services) Determination 2007 and sets a timeframe within which the Minister must act.

Clause 5 - Meaning of inequity

Clause 5 defines the inequity. The inequity is that a dental practitioner who has legitimately provided a dental service and claimed a Medicare benefit as payment, is required to repay the benefit where they did not provide a patient before commencing treatment with a written plan of their course of treatment and a written quotation, or failed to give copies of these documents to the referring doctor.

Clause 6 - Action Minister must take

Clause 6 specifies the action the Minister must take to redress this inequity. It provides that this action be one or more of the following:

·          an amendment to the determination along the lines of the amendment set in Schedule 1 of the bill;

·          waiving the right to repayment of medicare benefits;

·          making act of grace payments;

·          providing for the inequity to be addressed through the income tax system;

·          taking such other action as is necessary to redress the inequity.

 

Clause 7 - Minister must report to Parliament

Clause 7 requires the Minister to prepare reports on the action taken to redress past and future inequities that arise from the operation of subsection 10(2) of the Health Insurance (Dental Services) Determination 2007 and table those reports in each House of Parliament within 15 sitting days of the period in which the action must be taken. It provides for tabling of a single report.

 

SCHEDULE

Schedule 1 - Amendments

Item 1: At the end of section 10

This item proposes an amendment to section 10 of the Determination to allow for circumstances where a Medicare benefit can be paid where a written quotation was not provided prior to treatment. These circumstances include: that the dentist did not know about the requirement to provide a written quotation, did not fully understand the requirement, or was under a reasonable misapprehension about the need to comply with the requirement.

Item 2: When services are taken to be provided

This applies the amendment in item 1, so that eligible services provided prior to the commencement of the Schedule are covered by the amendment.

Item 3: Future amendment of Determination

This provides for the Determination to be amended in the normal way in the future.



 

 

Text Box: Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights
 Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011
 
 Health Insurance (Dental Services) Bill 2012
 
 This Bill is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011.
 Overview of the Bill
 The Bill proposes that the Minister for Health, in conjunction with other Ministers as may be necessary, redress past and future inequities that have arisen from the operation of subsection 10(2) of the Health Insurance (Dental Services) Determination 2007.
 The Bill describes the inequities imposed on dental practitioners by the operation of the subsection of the Determination and proposes five courses of action which the Minister can take to redress those inequities.
 It establishes a timeframe in which action is to be taken and requires a report to be tabled in both Houses of Parliament detailing the actions taken.
 Human rights implications
 This Bill/Legislative Instrument does not engage any of the applicable rights or freedoms.
 Conclusion
 This Bill is compatible with human rights as it does not raise any human rights issues.
 
 Senator David Bushby