About the study
AirSmile commissioned an independent study of 1008 Australians to gauge how they will be paying for dental treatments in 2022 and 2023. Respondents were asked if they will seek any financial support to pay their dental bills in the next 18 months. They were also presented with a list of seven options for accessing the money to pay for their dental bill. The survey respondents match the geographical and population spread of the Australian population.
What payment methods will Australians use to help improve the affordability of their dental bills this year, and beyond?
AirSmile asked Australians to specify which form of financial support they would use to help pay for dental bills in 2022 and 2023 from a list of seven options: a personal loan, credit cards, health insurance with dental rebates, help from family or friends, refinancing their mortgage, using buy now, pay later services or withdrawing funds from superannuation.
Just 45 per cent of Aussies said they will be able to pay their full dental bills at the time of treatment, while half (55 per cent) selected a financial support option that they would use.
A third (36 per cent) would draw on lines of credit to pay for their dental bills, compared with just one fifth (19 per cent) who will rely on private health insurance rebates.
AirSmile examined ways in which respondents would seek financial support. Thirteen (13) per cent said they would use their credit card as a line of credit for large bills and repay what they could each month, while 8 per cent would take out a personal loan, 7 per cent would use buy now, pay later services and 5 per cent would enlist the help of a family member or friend. Other payment options respondents chose to include withdrawing funds from superannuation (chosen by 2 per cent) and refinancing their mortgage or getting a debt consolidation loan to afford large bills (chosen by just 1 per cent).
Across the States and Territories, West Australians were least likely to be able to pay their dental bills in full at the time of treatment. Just 41 per cent of Western Australians will pay their bills in full, compared with 42 per cent of South Australians, 44 per cent of Queenslanders and NSW residents, 49 per cent of Victorians, and 71 per cent of ACT residents.
Across the States, similar proportions of respondents admitted they would borrow and beg to pay their dental bills: 38 per cent of Queenslanders would use a line of credit, such as a personal loan or buy now, pay later service, followed by 37 per cent of NSW residents, 35 per cent of Victorians, 34 per cent of South Australians, 32 per cent of WA residents, and 24 per cent of ACT residents.
Credit cards were the most popular option for securing funds: 15 per cent of Queenslanders, 14 per cent of Victorians and NSW residents and 12 per cent of WA residents would pay with a credit card and pay off slowly, compared with just 7 per cent of South Australians and 6 per cent of ACT residents.
Similar proportions of respondents across States would take out a personal loan to help pay for treatments. Eleven (11) per cent of South Australians selected this payment option, along with 9 per cent of Queenslanders and an 8 per cent of residents in NSW, 7 per cent in Victoria, and 6 per cent in WA. No ACT residents selected personal loans as a payment option.
In comparison, a relatively low proportion of residents in each State would ensure they had health insurance with good dental rebates. Specifically, 27 per cent of West Australians and 24 per cent of South Australians, compared with 19 per cent of NSW residents, 18 per cent of Queenslanders, 16 per cent of Victorians, and just 6 per cent of ACT residents.
|Would you get help paying your dental bills in 2022 and 2023?|
|Response||By State (%)|
|Yes, I would get a personal loan for large dental treatment bills||8||7||9||11||6||0|
|Yes, I would use my credit card as a line of credit for large dental treatment bills and repay what I can every month||14||14||15||7||12||6|
|Yes, I would ensure I have health insurance with good dental rebate rates.||19||16||18||24||27||6|
|Yes, I would get family or friends to help me pay large dental treatment bills||5||3||3||7||5||6|
|Yes, I would refinance my mortgage or get a debt consolidation loan to afford large dental bills||2||1||1||0||0||0|
|Yes, I would use a ‘buy now, pay later’ service, which many dentists offer||6||7||9||7||6||6|
|Yes, I would organise payment out of my superannuation, if eligible||3||2||0||4||3||6|
AirSmile looked for age-based trends in the survey results. It found that older Australians are more likely to be able to pay their dental bills in full, at 54 per cent, compared with 43 per cent of 35-54-year-olds and just 35 per cent of 18-34-year-olds.
Conversely, 44 per cent of 18-34-year-olds would rely on lines of credit, friends, family, or even their super to pay for their dental treatments – compared with 39 per cent of 35-54-year-olds and just 26 per cent of over-55s.
The younger the respondent the more likely they were to use a personal loan to pay for treatments, with 13 per cent of 18-34-year-olds selecting this option. In contrast, 9 per cent of 35-54-year-olds and just 3 per cent of over-55s said the same.
Younger Australians were also more likely to rely on friends and family for financial support (chosen by 9 per cent of 18-34-year-olds). This compares with 4 per cent of 35-54-year-olds and just 2 per cent of over-55s.
The results suggest older Australians are more likely to have disposable income and savings to pay for their treatments with little additional support from family and friends or payment options such as credit cards or refinancing their mortgage.
Similar proportions of Australians across age groups would ensure they had health insurance with good dental rebates to pay for their dental bills. Twenty (20) per cent of over-55s and 19 per cent of 18-54-year-olds would ensure they had health insurance.
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