Dr. Hussein Shivji believes that dental care is health care, so the owner of the Asante Dental Center has never understood why it is not included in Canada’s universal health coverage. And for those without private insurance, visiting the dentist can be very expensive.
“It’s really hard, especially with inflation, as it is right now,” Hussein said of his dental clinic in Vancouver.
So the longtime dentist is excited that the federal government will start offering dental coverage to families earning less than $ 90,000 a year, with no deductible for those earning less than $ 70,000. The program starts later this year with coverage for children under 12 years.
“This is amazing. It’s exactly the demographic they need to go for first,” Hussein said. they need in their lives. Children will have access to care that may not have had that access. “
Dr. Wendy Gaudet, owner and head of Wave Dentistry in Surrey, also runs a non-profit organization that offers free mobile dental care to low-income children in their schools.
She said: “I will always advocate for better oral health services and coverage for people who come from low-income families. I think that is absolutely necessary.”
But Gaudet is concerned that the new federal program could act as similar provincial programs, with the government paying only 30 to 50 percent of what an insurance company would for the same procedure.
“So what actually happens is people in these programs, when they try to access and get dental care from private clinics, the dentists don’t actually accept them as customers because they get paid under the fee guide,” Gaudet said.
So she urges the federal government to pay the same dental fees that insurance companies and those without coverage do, to make sure people in the new program have no trouble finding a provider.
“We will definitely have equality and equal access to the same level and type of oral health care, whether they have low income or high income,” Gaudet said.
Under the agreement between the Federal Liberals and the NDP, the new dental care program will be extended to children under 18, seniors and people living with a disability next year and will cover all low- to middle-income families by 2025.
Hussein says it has been a long time coming, adding “I think this will make a big difference in terms of everyone’s overall health.”