Feds seeking dental program ideas from industry, no details on what form it will take


OTTAWA — The federal government has asked the private sector to comment on how businesses could play a role in Canada’s national dental plan.

The Liberals have set aside $5.3 billion over the next five years to launch a dental plan for uninsured low- and middle-income families.

They have pledged to start with children under 12 in households with annual incomes below $90,000 by the end of this year, with plans to expand coverage to under 18s, elderly and disabled people. in 2023.

The program is a key part of the confidence and supply agreement the Liberals signed with the NDP to avoid a possible election until June 2025.

NDP Health Critic Don Davies said in a statement that the two sides recently agreed to an implementation plan for national dental care that includes learning from “stakeholders with expertise in handling complaints.

The government has launched a formal request for information, seeking comments from industry players by August 22.

“Canada is exploring different models to meet this commitment – ​​including a direct federal delivery option, whereby Health Canada would deliver the program itself with the support of one or more third-party delivery providers,” said the government in the document.

The government could also give money to the provinces with a list of coverages they must provide.

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos reiterated that the government has not yet decided what form the program will take. Responses from various companies, as well as consultations with provinces and territories, will inform federal decisions on how to proceed, he said.

The NDP and Liberals agreed the program would be expanded to include all uninsured family members below the $90,000 income threshold before the deal ends.

In the RFI document, the government estimates that seven to nine million Canadians would be eligible for the program once it is fully implemented. If the Liberals outsource the program to a private company, there would be a six-month start-up phase. between when the contract was awarded and when it would start.

This would prevent the Liberals from meeting the year-end deadline to fulfill their promise to the NDP in the confidence and supply agreement between the two parties.

In the document, the government asks companies to explain whether they have the capacity to handle the claims of the millions of Canadians who will be eligible for coverage.

The Liberals also want to know if there is already a “plug and play” insurance plan that the government could tailor to its needs, and how quickly that could happen.

The document asks companies to answer key questions, such as what basket of services to cover and how best to deliver the program.

The government has also sought advice on how to manage the complex industry landscape, which includes provincial and territorial programs and private insurers.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on July 25, 2022.

Laura Osman, The Canadian Press


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