Will the Canada Dental Care Plan be available to Muskoka seniors?

UPDATE: Since this story was published, Sun Life, which administers the Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP), has posted a list of providers by location on its website, here .

The acclaimed CDCP will begin covering eligible seniors in just over a week, but area resident Margaret-Anne Baker wonders if Muskoka's dental care providers will sign on.

Baker said her dental practice has said it will not join the program because, as the Ontario Dental Association (ODA) says, there is too much uncertainty.

As of last week, there was no list available for eligible seniors to see which dental care professionals near them had signed up for the program. “The program starts on May 1; you would think there would be a list available,” Baker said last week. A list has since been released, but adoption in Muskoka has been slow.

Dr. Brock Nicolucci, president of the Ontario Dental Association, said that's because there are concerns in the dental community. These include having to sign an open-ended agreement with Health Canada to provide the program and the human resources needed to administer it. He questioned why the program didn't track patients instead of requiring dentists to register.

“It allows dentists to build a relationship with their patients rather than with the government,” Nicolucci said. “We were brought to the negotiating table at the 11th hour… as soon as they made the plan, they brought us to the negotiating table.”

In conversations with Health Canada staff, they noted that the voluntary program cannot function without dental health practitioners and said Health Canada is addressing some of their concerns. Staff also noted that it would be impractical to make patients, rather than providers, responsible for paying out of pocket and then being reimbursed; many may not have the funds.

One in four Canadians say they avoid seeing an oral health professional because of cost. The Canada Dental Care Plan (CDCP) will help ease financial barriers to oral health care for up to nine million Canadians,” said Christopher from the Office of the Minister of Health Aoun said in an email.

“We know oral health professionals are critical to ensuring the success of this program. Since 2022, Health Canada and Health Minister Mark Holland have personally met with various associations to consult on this program. We are pleased to see thousands of Have chosen to sign up and support our efforts. We are continuing to have meaningful conversations with providers who want to ensure Canadians have access to oral health care.

“It is easy for providers to participate, and CDCP works similar to the existing system providers use when billing directly to private insurance plans. Providers can visit Sun Life Financial and fill out a quick form to confirm their participation. Similar to private insurance, Once set up in the system, they will receive payment from Sun Life within 48 hours of submitting a patient visit. However, we have heard that some oral health providers want to participate but do not want to register. We are looking for a way to help provide this without registration. alternative means of care and will be sharing more information about this new option soon,” said Aoun.

More information about the program can be found here.

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