Changes coming to government’s new Adult Dental Program

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A dental program introduced by the provincial government last year to provide certain services to low-income families has proven to be too popular for the government’s new plan to cut back on costs.

The Adult Dental Program has seen an unprecedented uptake among eligible clients over the past year, according to a news release from the Department of Health and Community Services.

It was meant to provide select diagnostic and therapeutic dental services to eligible clients once every three years and dentures every eight years, but now government says to ensure the program can continue to offer dental and denture services, effective March 6 a prior approval process will be put in place and an annual per person cap will be implemented on April 1 to keep the program sustainable into the future.

“While our objective is to serve as many people as we can with our social programs, it is our responsibility to ensure that our programs are sustainable in the long term and on budget,” said Susan Sullivan, Minister of Health and Community Services. “This program has far exceeded our initial expectations so it is prudent that we implement this new policy so we can continue to offer these valuable services.”

The program was designed for individuals enrolled in three plans under the Newfoundland and Labrador Prescription Drug Program — the Foundation Plan, Access Plan, and the 65+ Plan.

In a release in June 2011, government said the program was to involve a $6.1 million annual investment.

Government now says they will operate the prior approval process that will allow clients and providers the ability to design and develop dental treatment plans, as well as prioritize needed services. The prior approval process will approve clients up to the limit of the existing budget, minus funding specifically allocated for exceptional or emergency cases throughout the year.

Prior approval will not be required for eligible exams and x-rays. All denture work currently in progress as of March 6 will be honoured without prior approval in order to conclude services. A portion of the annual budget will also be reserved for these services.

In addition, the per person cap will allow clients to receive up to $150 in basic dental services and $750 in dentures each year, for services eligible under the program.

Government says the cap will ensure that more beneficiaries will have access to services each year within the allocated budget of the program.

Organizations: Department of Health and Community, Community Services, Foundation Plan

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Recent comments

  • Ray
    March 07, 2013 - 08:22

    this program was not only for those on social assistance, it was for the working poor with families. I wish people get their facts straight. I work, my wife work and we have 4 children and this program would have helped us as we did have appointments made, now they have to be cancelled as we cannot afford it. The NL Gov' t should be ashamed of themselves.

  • omg
    March 06, 2013 - 13:27

    I agree with Ginger, why should someone who has no desire to work (and most know how to play the system) get free dental while the working poor get nothing and are the ones who pay taxes, the same taxes that pay for those on welfare to sit at home all day long, kids in fully paid for daycare and do nothing, no worries cause they know there is a check coming again soon. The program should be cut back even further in my view... example if someone who is getting assistance can have 3-4 huge flat screen tvs on there walls, there kids wearing the top name brands, all kinds of gaming systems, vehicles sitting in there driveways.... then why cant they pay to see a dentist?????/ The system is screwed up time for a change... Personally I think anyone who is on assistance and should be investigated before they get anything

    • Anthony Patey
      March 07, 2013 - 08:38

      The Adult Dental was not aimed at the Income support people but the low income or working poor and seniors. Income support always had dental care offered and still do as far as i know. When we went to Government to recommend a program it was for those who were falling through the cracks. People who work hard every day but just don't have the means to do things such as visit the dentist. When you have to make a decision about food or a dental visit for yourself or your child the visit is put off.

  • Truth
    March 06, 2013 - 13:22

    Ginger, I couldn't have said it better. Isn't that the truth. Welfare is set-up so good here in Newfoundland that high school students are choosing it for their "post secondary". To some it's a "birth" right.

  • Ryan
    March 06, 2013 - 07:09

    Wow.. $150 cap... So someone on low income can now only probably get a checkup, and a filling.

  • Ginger
    March 06, 2013 - 06:55

    Isn't the system screwed up here? I work full time in retail, they offer no benefits, and unfortunatly, I can not afford insurance right now....the best sets of teeth I've seen around are those who sit on their fannys all day soaking the system.....what an incentive this is to stay at home and do the same!!!!

    • So many cuts...
      March 06, 2013 - 10:20

      I think its awful that these programs are being cut. There are so many working people on a low income and seniors who I know use the drug and dental plan. Ginger, there are definitely some people who are "soaking the system" no doubt about it but many of the people affected by this are seniors who have worked hard their whole lives and are now struggling to survive on a fixed income. If you are a parent of a family that makes less than 42000 a year you too qualify for the access plan through NLPDP. Look it up it could benefit you as well as those "sitting on their fannys".

  • bjflynn
    March 06, 2013 - 06:46

    as a retired federal civil servant who is paying top dollar for a dental plan and maintaining a home for 40 years ,no grants or freebees have been received by us in any manner,shape or form from any level of government,particularly the provincial government, as a result we are waiting in a lineup with our meger hard earned dollars in our hot little hands for dental service ,because we are not street wise enough to work the system. disallusioned tax payer