Dental coverage could soon be headed your way, as the NDP government is considering adding oral services to provincial healthcare.
According to Global News, BC’s premier John Horgan said that he is interested in adding dental coverage to the province’s healthcare system.
In an interview between Global and Horgan, the premier said that he was hopeful about bringing it in the new year.
“We have been looking at it and hopefully we will be able to do something about it in the next budget,” Horgan told Global News.
The dental coverage would include basic procedure, like dentures, dental exams, X-rays, fillings, cleanings, and restorative work.
“I got my two front teeth knocked out playing basketball when I was a kid and it meant that I was always tentative about smiling. Dental care, dental health is critically important to physical well-being as well as mental well-being,” said Horgan.
“I believe it’s an area we need to move into with kids and get good habits with good oral hygiene and make sure that is funded.”
Not the first in Canada
The move would follow Ontario’s NDP government, who promised in march to bring dental care to the 4.5 million residents of their province. For Ontario, they estimate the cost of dental benefits would be near $1.2 billion.
If the NDP’s campaign promise were to come to fruition, they would make it mandatory for employers to provide a basic minimum standard of dental coverage.
Currently, BC’s Medical Service Plan (MSP) covers some oral care.
“MSP is the provincial insurance program that pays for required medical services. These include medically necessary services provided by physicians and midwives, dental and oral surgery performed in a hospital, eye examinations if medically required and some orthodontic services,” reads the provincial website.
That being said, BC’s NDP government is working on phasing out MSP with the Employer Health Tax Model (EHT), a move that is not without some controversy.
EHT will be introduced on January 1st, 2019, and MSP Premiums will be eliminated come January 1st, 2020.
“The last government chose to double MSP fees, costing families hundreds of dollars a year. People deserve a break, which is why we’re eliminating regressive MSP premiums,” said Carole James, Minister of Finance.
“The EHT is a fairer approach, similar to other provinces, and that means lower taxes for British Columbians.”