Officials share plans for federal dental care benefit

"This is a first step, an interim benefit," says health minister

Officials share plans for federal dental care benefit

Insurance News

By Mika Pangilinan

The Liberal government has made strides in its plans for a federal dental-care insurance program, with Health Canada officials revealing it will need to work with an external company to process claims.

A report by The Canadian Press revealed that the Procurement Department recently invited companies with experience in dental-care claims to apply for pre-qualification, a step that Health Canada officials said would “help the government refine the program before hiring a company to do the work.”

The same officials told the Press that dental-care coverage in the new program will be similar to benefits programs for First Nations, Inuit, refugees and veterans who fall within federal jurisdiction for health care, although its full details are still being ironed out.

The Liberals’ dental-care benefit bill passed third reading in the House of Commons late last week.

The bill would allow children with families making less than $90,000 a year to receive as much as $650 per child to care for their teeth. It serves as the “first step” for the Liberals’ dental-care benefits overhaul that will soon be followed by a second, more comprehensive program.

“This is a first step, an interim benefit,” said Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, per the Canadian Press report. “There will be a second program that will be better suited to the dental-health care that other Canadians, including the younger children, will need over time, that includes seniors, people with disabilities, people with relatively low- or middle-income ranges.”

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh had said he wanted the program implemented by the end of 2023, but Health Canada officials said the timing would depend on how the procurement process unfolds. The application process for companies looking to pre-qualify for the contract is expected to last about six weeks, according to the Canadian Press, with up to three considered for the job.  

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