February 25th, 2024

Don’t call it insurance: What dentists want you to know about the federal dental plan

By Laura Osman, The Canadian Press on December 12, 2023.

Minister of Health Mark Holland listens to a question following an announcement on dental care, Monday, December 11, 2023 in Ottawa. The federal government has announced enrolment details for a new federal dental plan that resembles typical insurance coverage, down to the benefits card patients show at the dentists' office. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA – The federal government has announced enrolment details for a new federal dental plan that resembles typical insurance coverage, down to the benefits card patients show at the dentists’ office.

But dentists say the new government program isn’t the same as the insurance people typically get from employers, and patients should be clear about the differences.

British Columbia Dental Association president Dr. Robert Wolanski says the government plan is more of a social program than a typical insurance program.

The government’s benefits plan is modelled closely on the federal health benefits program for registered First Nations and Inuit people.

Wolanski says that program has some distinct differences from an employer insurance program in terms of the eligibility criterial and the administrative burden for oral health-care providers.

The dentist from Nanaimo, B.C., says it’s not clear yet exactly how patients’ experiences will differ when they arrive at the dentist’s office because those details haven’t been released by the federal government yet.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 12, 2023.

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