What Seniors and their Families Need to Know about the Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP)

The long-anticipated Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP) was introduced in December 2023. The program was launched on a rolling basis, starting with seniors aged 87 and above. Seniors aged 65 and older are now eligible to apply for the program, assuming they meet other eligibility requirements. Other groups eligible for the program will be able to apply later in 2024 through 2025.

Know Before You Go:

Before you receive services, it is important to review if you are eligible, if the treatments you need are eligible, and if your dentist is participating.

Not Everyone is Eligible for the Plan:

At this time, the program is open for Canadian residents aged 65 years or older who have filed their taxes and who have an adjusted family net income less than $90,000. You must not already have a dental plan or dental coverage through a work, professional or pension plan.

Those eligible for the program should soon receive a letter from the federal government if they have not already. If you have not received a letter, please review the eligibility requirements before applying as you may not be eligible.

Not All Dental Treatments or Costs are Covered:

Many but not all treatments are covered by the program. Depending on your income level, you may be required to pay for part of the services rendered, with the program covering the rest. Some services may require preauthorization from the CDCP before being provided, including crowns, partial denture placements, treatments requiring anesthesia and more. For most basic services, approved applicants should be able to access care with the CDCP as of May 2024.

A 60% co-pay will be required for those with an adjusted family net income of $80,000-$89,999 and a 40% co-pay will apply to those with an adjusted family net income of $70,000-$79,999. Seniors with an adjusted family net income of less than $70,000 will not be required to co-pay for eligible services.

It is important to note the CDCP will be reimbursing dental providers directly, so those eligible will not be receiving any payments from the CDCP directly.

Not All Dentists are Participating in the Plan:

While many dentists across the country have opted into the plan, dentists are not required to participate. If you already have a trusted dental provider, you will need to check in with them to make sure they are participating in the plan. If they are not participating, you are not required to find a new dental provider, but your services will not be covered by the CDCP. Some dental providers may choose to opt in at a later time. If your dental provider is not participating, and you do not wish to change providers but require financial assistance in accessing care, please talk to your dentist about setting up installment payments for the services you need. Some practices may also offer seniors discounts for those not covered by the CDCP.

If you do not have a dental provider or want to change providers, Sun Life has created an online directory to help you find a provider near you who is participating in the CDCP.

Regular visits to the dentist are especially important for seniors. Practicing good oral hygiene can help prevent a variety of health issues, including pneumonia and gum disease, and reduce one’s risk factor for heart attacks and strokes. Through this program, seniors and other Canadian residents without a dental plan can receive help to access the dental care they need.

 For more information about the program and to apply, please visit canada.ca/dental

Special thanks to the British Columbia Dental Association (BCDA) for their ‘Know Before You Go’ fact sheet!

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