All dental care providers can now provide care under Canadian Dental Care Plan

'Our focus is to make sure that Canadians have access to essential health services'

All dental care providers can now provide care under Canadian Dental Care Plan

The federal government is making it easier for Canadians to access the benefits of the Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP).

All dental care providers can now provide care under the plan on a claim-by-claim basis without formally signing up.

Currently, close to 12,000 providers have already signed up to the CDCP and more continue to join every day, according to the government.

"Allowing providers options for how they provide care to CDCP clients means that more people will be able to receive affordable dental care,” said Mark Holland, minister of health. “We are dedicated to collaborating closely with oral health partners to make sure that all CDCP members enjoy equitable access to affordable care. This is something every Canadian deserves.”

Effective June 27, the federal government expanded the CDCP coverage to include children under 18 and persons with a valid disability tax credit certificate.

But recently, Alberta said it plans to opt out of the program by 2026.

In January, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) called on the federal government to put an additional $1.45 billion into the CDCP. That’s because the plan is underfunded, said David Macdonald, CCPA senior economist, in his report. As it is, about 4.4 million uninsured Canadians will be excluded from the benefits in its full implementation without additional funding, he estimates.

How should providers bill for dental services?

Under the latest development, providers have to bill Sun Life directly and accept payment for services covered under the CDCP, regardless of how they choose to participate. 

Once a claim is approved, providers will receive reimbursement from Sun Life within 48 hours. That timeframe will go down to within 24 hours in the future, according to the government.

"We look forward to working with even more providers across Canada to ensure claims are processed and Canadians have access to the care they need,” Dave Jones, president, Sun Life Health. “Oral health care providers are critical to the CDCP, and we're thrilled to provide more ways for them to participate in this important and life-changing program."

Meanwhile, Canadians who don't already have a provider can talk to a dentist, dental hygienist, denturist or dental specialist in their community or consult Sun Life's CDCP Provider Search tool to find providers who have confirmed their participation in the CDCP.

Ottawa noted that CDCP patients may have to pay additional charges, in addition to their co-payment, if applicable, depending on the services received and the cost of the treatment. CDCP patients, therefore, should always ask their provider about any additional costs that won't be covered by the plan before receiving any services, according to the government.

"Providing the flexibility for oral health providers to help Canadian Dental Care Plan clients on a claim-by-claim basis makes it easier for those needing dental care to get the services they deserve. Our focus is to make sure that Canadians have access to essential oral health services,” said Terry Beech, minister of citizens' services.

Ottawa revealed details of the CDCP rollout in late 2023. Budget 2023 announced an investment of $13 billion over five years, starting in 2023-24, and $4.4 billion ongoing, to implement the CDCP. 

The plan is administered by Health Canada in collaboration with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), through Service Canada and Sun Life

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