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Newfoundland and Labrador's new adult dental health program

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has launched a new dental program for adults, effective January 1, 2012. This new program is an expansion of the current provincial dental health plan, which is usually referred to as the Children’s Dental Health Program.

The Children’s Dental Health Program covers all children up to and including age 12 who reside in Newfoundland and Labrador. A more limited dental program is also available to children aged 13 to 17 whose families are considered low income or are receiving income support. In addition, adults who receive income support are eligible for emergency exams and extractions only.

The new Adult Dental Health Program expands the services that can be provided to adults who are recipients of income support or who are low income. To be eligible, adults have to be enrolled in one of the following Provincial Prescription Drug Programs:

  • Foundation Plan (individuals in receipt of income support benefits)
  • Access Plan (low income residents, based on net income and family status)
  • 65+ Plan (residents 65 years and older who receive Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement)

The new Adult Dental Health Program will cover the following diagnostic and therapeutic services:

  • x-rays
  • examinations
  • extractions
  • emergency exams
  • routine fillings
  • dentures

Individuals eligible under the Adult Dental Health Program who are not yet registered will have to pay out of pocket for eligible dental services they receive from a dentist or denturist. The provincial government will then reimburse eligible dental expenses based on approved rates. Information packages regarding this new program have been distributed to all dentists and denturists in the province.

For group insurance plan sponsors, we do not expect to see any significant reduction in dental claim utilization or costs under the employer’s group insurance plan, as access to the new provincial program is limited.