Pol­icy up­dates

ZOOMER Magazine - - CONTENTS -

FOR MANY SE­NIORS, ac­cess to den­tal cov­er­age plans – or the ex­tra in­come to pay for a visit to the den­tist – can be hard to come by. A re­cent CARP poll found that only 37 per cent of mem­bers are en­rolled in a pri­vate den­tal plan, leav­ing the rest to pay for it out of pocket or seek gov­ern­ment re­lief. Cana­dian prov­inces, how­ever, don’t seem in­ter­ested in pay­ing for den­tal ser­vices. With the ex­cep­tion of in­come-tested cov­er­age in Al­berta, Nu­navut and the North­west Ter­ri­to­ries, the pub­lic pro­por­tion of den­tal care ex­pen­di­tures in Canada (six per cent) is very low. Japan and Fin­land pay pub­licly for 70 to 80 per cent of den­tal care while Swe­den and New Zealand pay 30 to 40 per cent. With­out cov­er­age, it’s com­mon for low-in­come se­niors to de­lay or forgo nec­es­sary den­tal care, sim­ply be­cause they can­not af­ford the costs. “Den­tal care is health care,” says Wanda Mor­ris, CARP’s vice-pres­i­dent of ad­vo­cacy. “Not only does proper den­tal care en­sure se­niors can eat, smile and re­main so­cially en­gaged but new re­search shows dis­eased gums and miss­ing teeth can lead to poor health out­comes. It’s why den­tal pro­grams for low­in­come se­niors must be a pri­or­ity for all ju­ris­dic­tions.” (For more on den­tal care, read Moses Znaimer’s Zoomer Phi­los­o­phy: “We Came, We Saw, We Chewed”) on­line at www.ev­ery­thing­­los­o­phy-21.

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