Health Canada clarifies eligibility for seniors under national dental care plan

6 March 2024
Health Canada clarifies eligibility for seniors under national dental care plan

Those who purchased insurance themselves — or opted out of pension programs they can’t rejoin — will qualify.

The federal government has posted updated information online on who is eligible for Canada’s national dental care plan.

The additional details come after seniors raised concerns about whether their existing private dental insurance plans disqualified them from the public plan.

A spokesperson for Health Canada told CBC News that people who purchased private dental insurance plans on their own will qualify for the national program — but only after their existing private policies are no longer in effect.

Those with access to private dental coverage through their work or professional organizations remain ineligible for the Canadian Dental Care Plan. They’re ineligible even if they decided to opt out of their private insurance, haven’t made a claim, or have to pay a premium, the website says.

Ottawa has now added an exception for retirees who decided not to sign up for private dental insurance offered through their pension plans. If they opted out of those dental plans before Dec. 11, 2023, and aren’t allowed to opt back in, they qualify for the national program.

A spokesperson for Health Canada told CBC News its website was updated Monday.

“This is really about filling in the gaps, making sure that everybody gets coverage, as opposed to displacing existing plans,” Holland said Tuesday.

Ottawa has been sending letters to eligible individuals inviting them to apply, starting with the oldest first. In March, eligibility opened to seniors aged 70 and older. Coverage is set to begin in May. The program is expected to be open to all eligible applicants by 2025.

More than 1 million Canadians have signed up for the plan, Citizen’s Services Minister Terry Beech said during question period last week.

In order to qualify, applicants must have no access to private dental insurance and family incomes of less than $90,000 a year. They also must have filed a tax return and be Canadian residents.

Dental associations have recommended seniors not opt out of or cancel any existing dental care insurance until Ottawa provides more details on who and what is covered.

Source: cbc

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