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The Canadian Dental Care Plan is here: What you need to know

(NC) The federal government has begun to roll-out the Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP), which will cover some of the cost of most basic oral health care services for uninsured Canadians.

Once fully implemented, the plan will offer dental coverage for up to nine million people in Canada. It’s targeted specifically towards Canadians with an annual family income under $90,000 who do not have access to dental insurance.

The application process is opening in phases, starting with seniors.

How to apply

Individuals who may be eligible have begun receiving letters from the federal government, inviting them to apply for the plan.

Keep an eye out for one of these letters if you:

  • will be 70 years old as of March 2024;
  • have a family income of less than $90,000; and
  • have filed your 2022 tax return.

The letter includes instructions on how to confirm your eligibility and apply by telephone.

Only seniors who receive a letter will be able to apply before May 2024. Here’s when seniors can expect to receive their letter:

  • December 2023: ages 87 and above
  • January 2024: ages 77 to 86
  • February 2024: ages 72 to 76
  • March 2024: ages 70 to 71

As of May 2024, applications shift from telephone only to an online portal and will open for eligible seniors 65 and older. More information on this portal will be available closer to its launch date.

Canadians with a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate and children under 18 will be able to apply online starting in June 2024.

All other eligible residents will be able to apply in 2025.

After you have applied

If your application is successful, starting in March, you will be sent a welcome package by Sun Life, the administrator managing the plan on behalf of the government. The package will include a member card and a start date for your coverage.

Seniors will be able to start seeing an oral health provider as early as May 2024 but start dates for coverage will vary based on when you can apply, when the application is received and when your enrolment is completed.

What’s covered

The plan will help cover most basic dental services, such as check-ups, x-rays, teeth cleaning, fillings, dentures, root canals and some oral surgeries.

The CDCP will reimburse a percentage of the cost at the plan’s established fees. These depend on the members’ income level, and some people may have to pay the rest of the expense amount out of pocket. For example:

  • if you have a family income under $70,000, you can have 100 per cent of eligible costs covered;
  • if your family income is between $70,000 and $79,999, 60 per cent of eligible costs can be covered; and
  • with a family income between $80,000 and $89,999, 40 per cent of eligible costs can be covered.

You may have to pay fees in addition to the potential co-payment if:

  • your oral health provider charges more than the CDCP fees
  • you agree to receive care that the plan doesn’t cover

Before receiving oral health care, you should always ask your oral health provider about any costs that won’t be covered by the plan.

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