Dental Fee Guide Welcomed But More Action Needed
Friends of Medicare are welcoming today's announcement of a reduced fee guide for dental services in Alberta, and urging the Ministry of Health to add dental coverage to Alberta's health care insurance plan. The guide recommends reductions of 8.5% in 60 common procedures.
"We're pleased to see the Ministry work with the Alberta Dental Association and College to introduce a fee guide with recommended reductions. We don't believe your health needs end where your mouth begins, and cost barriers to good oral health should be removed," said Executive Director Sandra Azocar.
"We agree that providing Albertans with information around cost of procedures is important. At the same time we must be clear that these are recommendations only, and not regulations guaranteeing lowered prices," added Azocar. "Preventative and ongoing dental health services should be viewed as an essential part of overall wellness and not as not as a commodity with patients being expected to shop around for the best deals."
"Albertans value the principles of our public health system that is there for patient need regardless of ability to pay. Even with today's fee guide recommendations, cost barriers to dental services will still keep many people away from the dentists chair," continued Azocar. "This leads to further complications for our health system, as people who skip dental care end up with illnesses requiring treatment in hospitals. The next phase of a modern medicare system should include dental care as well as health services such as prescription drugs, mental health, and seniors care."