Manitoba dentists raise concerns over Canadian Dental Care Plan

Dentists are expressing their concerns about what they say is a lack of details about the Canadian Dental Care Plan, with the Manitoba Dental Association even telling dentists to hold back from participating until some issues are addressed.

As more Canadians continue to become eligible for the Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP) this year, dentists are expressing their concerns about what they say is the plan’s lack of details, with the Manitoba Dental Association even telling dentists to hold back from participating until some issues are addressed.

By June, all seniors, children under the age of 18 and adults with a valid disability tax credit certificate will be eligible to be covered under the plan.

The CDCP provides dental coverage to uninsured Canadians with a family income of under $90,000.

The plan is expected to cover all eligible Canadians in 2025.

“There’s still a lot of unknows about what the plan includes, what it involves,” said Dr. George Loewen, a dentist at Dental Dreams.

Dr. Loewen says while he supports the federal government’s move to cover dental care for uninsured Canadians, he worries that dentists who participate in the CDCP, may receive lower amounts of payment for the same treatment compared to patients that have private insurance.

“I know the biggest concern voiced among dentists is that if we are not getting paid the full amount,” explained Dr. Loewen.

Dentists have been able to sign up since March 11 to participate in the CDCP.

Manitoba Dental Association worries patients will still be left with unaffordable bills under dental care plan

The Manitoba Dental Association says the CDCP as it stands right now, covers a set amount for procedures, which means if a dentist charges more than what the federal government is willing to pay, the patient will be left with the difference.

“There will be many patients where this is still unaffordable for them or creates barriers,” explained Dr. Daron Baxter, president of the Manitoba Dental Association.

The Manitoba Dental Association is also calling on the federal government to cover eligible Canadians at any dentist, rather than waiting for offices to participate in the CDCP.

“The Canadian Dental Care Plan is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but we must get it right,” explained Dr. Baxter.

“The current design of the CDCP restricts patients’ ability to continue care with their existing provider, to seek a provider that speaks their language and to choose a provider in their community.”

Despite his concerns, Dr. Loewen says he plans on participating in the CDCP.

“A lot of people are finding it a barrier to access dental care, a basic checkup and cleaning should be covered per year. Some people are doing 10 years of work in one year, the problem with that is that it’s ten years of work, and you can never catch up. It means we’re just pulling out people’s teeth out and that’s not good care. That’s retroactive, not proactive.”

Health Minister Mark Holland’s office said in a statement to CityNews that, “We are confident that oral health practitioners will continue to choose to register and support the CDCP, which will be transformational for the oral health outcomes of so many Canadians. Providers are essential to the success of the CDCP, which is why we will continue to have constructive and positive conversations with oral health professionals across the country as we roll out the CDCP.”

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