Regular visits to an oral health professional have proven to reduce the risk of tooth decay, gum disease and other serious health problems, such as cardiovascular disease and stroke. However, we know that in 2022 one in four Canadians reported avoiding visiting an oral health professional because of the cost and that a third of the people living in Canada do not have dental insurance. Access to oral health care should not be dependent on Canadians’ ability to pay.
Last December, the Government of Canada launched the Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP), a new federal plan, administered with the support of Sun Life, which will help make oral health care more affordable for up to nine million Canadian residents who do not currently have access to dental insurance.
Today, the Government of Canada announced further details on the oral health care services that will be covered under the CDCP to prevent and treat oral health issues and disease. The majority of services covered under the CDCP will be available as of May 2024 when the first cohort of CDCP clients will begin to receive services. Some oral health care services such as crowns, initial placement of partial dentures, and general anesthesia will require preauthorization, prior evaluation from an oral health provider, which will be available beginning in the fall of 2024.
The Government is also making the 2023 CDCP established fees available via Sun Life’s website to help inform providers ahead of the release of the 2024 fees. Each service covered under the plan will be compensated at 2024 CDCP fees when services start being offered in May. The CDCP will reimburse a percentage of the cost, based on established CDCP fees, which are not the same as the provincial and territorial suggested fee guides. People covered under the CDCP may have to pay an outstanding amount such as a co-payment or additional charges, which would be paid directly to their oral health provider. CDCP fees will be reassessed annually to account for new evidence, inflation, and changes in costs over time.
To limit out-of-pocket costs, oral health providers participating in the CDCP will bill Sun Life directly for the eligible services provided to ensure timely reimbursement. Before receiving any oral health services, people covered under the CDCP should confirm that their provider is participating in the program and whether there may be any costs that will not be covered by the plan.
The support and participation of oral health care providers across the country are essential to the successful roll-out of the CDCP and to improving access to dental care in Canada. The Government will continue to actively engage with oral health providers so they are well informed, and supported with informational resources. Oral health providers will be able to confirm their participation in the CDCP through the Sun Life portal starting on March 11, 2024.
The CDCP is a key part of the Government of Canada’s plan to making life more affordable for Canadians.
For more information, visit Canada.ca/dental.