What’s the state of dental care for seniors in Ontario who need financial assistance?
Well, the good news is that there is definitely a push to include public dental care in Ontario for those most in need, particularly low income seniors. The Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program allows for certain seniors to receive basic dental care needs such as extractions, checkups and x-rays. Dentures are partially covered but a lot depends on the individual public health unit across the province.
The bad news is that coverage is very limited. The restrictions are as follows1:
1) Must be 65 years of ago or older
2) Must be a resident of Ontario
3) Must have an annual individual income less than $22,200 or $37,100 per couple.
4) Must have no other dental benefits including Ontario Works, Ontario Disability, or private insurance.
While this does help those most in need, seniors generally have lower incomes than those in other age groups, with about 20% of Canadian seniors living in low income situations.
This explains why the program is focused on those most in need. But what about the other 80% of seniors who have incomes above $22,200 a year? And what of those in other age groups that don’t qualify for social assistance, such as the working poor? An increase in this grant money and program would certainly help more than just the bottom 20% of earning seniors.
Beyond what’s been developed to date, it’s really tough to see what sort of public dental program can be developed moving forward. The five reasons that dental isn’t included in our OHIP (see blog post here) are still very much prevalent, meaning that it will take quite a big movement to change the current situation any time soon, beyond perhaps increasing access to dental for those most in need.
While we’re hopeful that things will change for the better, we will continue to help offer free consultations for anyone curious about the state of their tooth loss, as well as our continued focus of offering affordable denture care, while we continue to monitor the role dental plays within our public healthcare system.
If you think that you qualify for The Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program, application forms can be found here: https://seniors.accerta.ca/application/en
For a free consultation at one Saberton Denture & Implant’s offices, please contact the closest location here.
1. Dental care for low-income seniors. https://www.ontario.ca/page/dental-care-low-income-seniors#section-1
2. Ontario Human Rights Commission Demographics, http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/discussion-paper-discrimination-and-age-human-rights-issues-facing-older-persons-ontario/demographics