Too many people living on the Age Pension avoid seeing health practitioners and neglect their health just to avoid out-of-pocket costs.
For those struggling to make ends meet private health insurance isn’t an affordable way of ensuring dental cover.
Without public support, dental care is a major area of avoidance.
The Fix Pension Poverty campaign is calling on the Government to expand the provision of accessible and free dentistry to all people receiving the Age Pension.
Existing programs providing subsidised oral health care to older Australians are often inaccessible and unavailable.
Dental care is the second largest area of out-of-pocket health expenditure by Australians (19% of individuals' recurrent health expenditure) after non-PBS medications. Australians pay 57% of the cost of dental care out of their own pockets, compared to 17.3% for all health services.
For many people on the Age Pension, especially those experiencing poverty, private health insurance is one of the 'essentials' that must be dropped because they cannot afford the cost of living. This is particularly the case for people living on the Age Pension whilst renting. Only 16% of people over 65 who are renting have private health insurance coverage, compared to 46.8% of the general population.