Navigating Government Dental Insurance Programs

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Most people are aware that healthcare in Canada is provided to permanent residents by the government of their province or territory of residence. This applies to most regular doctor's visits, as well as emergency care at public hospitals. We are in a very fortunate position, but there are many important healthcare services that fall outside the standard government insurance plans. Notably, oral health care services are not generally paid for by the government.

If you are one of the many Canadians who do not currently have separate coverage for your health and dental insurance needs, you will be required to pay out of pocket for oral health care. There are limited exceptions to this rule, and it is in your best interest to investigate your options in your province or territory. This is especially true if you are foregoing a necessary dental treatment because of financial limitations.

Government Options for Dental Care Coverage

Dentist’s visits are generally excluded from the healthcare services paid for by the government, however there are a limited number of programs to aid those who cannot pay for dental treatments without assistance. The federal government has programs for some Canadian citizens, including First Nations and Inuit citizens and veterans. There is also limited assistance for new Canadians under the Interim Federal Health Program.

Those who do not qualify for assistance at the federal level may be eligible for some services through their province or territory of residence. For example, in Ontario, there are programs to help offset the cost of dental treatments for children and seniors, as well as some dental service programs for low-income families. This is also true for British Columbia and Alberta.

To determine what options may be available in your province, feel free to consult this guide which provides a good overview of the government programs by province.

Private Health and Dental Insurance Plans

In the event you are not eligible for financial assistance through government programs, there are many private health and dental insurance plans available to meet your coverage needs. Basic coverage can help offset the cost of routine maintenance and regular dental visits. Major Services coverage can also cover tooth restoration and dental surgery after your third year of coverage. In fact, there are many options for dental insurance that can meet your family’s dental needs, and your budget.

If you are thinking about foregoing the cost of dental insurance, consider this: people without dental insurance are more likely to skip out on necessary treatments because of the high cost of paying for dental care out-of-pocket. This can lead to long-term health implications, as the link between good oral health care and good overall health is well established.

Should you need help finding the right insurance coverage for your needs and the needs of your family, talk to an insurance broker. A broker can help make sure you understand all of the features and benefits of an insurance policy to help you make the best possible choice.


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