Tackling Dental Updates One Bite at a Time
Over the last few years, we’ve been busy beavers working to ensure our dental coverage is the most beneficial to you and your family, while also balancing the increasing cost of dental services to the benefit plan.
A STRATEGY WITH TEETH
In 2017, we developed an Oral Health Strategy so we can dig our teeth deeper in this area (yes, we went there!) and make certain that our dental benefits continue to be aligned with evidence-based guidelines. Part of the strategy included forming an Oral Health Advisory Panel (OHAP), which includes working dentists and hygienists from across the province, to help us review our current dental benefits.
DENTAL BENEFIT CHANGES
As part of the ASEBP Trustees’ annual plan design review, and in consideration of the assessment from OHAP, the following changes to dental benefits will take effect on January 1, 2019:
- Dental exams (recall and specific) will be covered every six months for anyone under 19 and every 12 months for anyone 19 and older.
- Fluoride applications will be covered once every six months for anyone under 19.
- Polishing one half unit will be covered every six months for anyone under 19. Polishing will no longer be covered for anyone 19 and older as the benefit of this service is supported by clinical evidence for young children and is of limited value for adults, where scaling may be used as an alternative
- Bitewing X-rays will be covered once every six months for anyone under 19 and once every 12 months for anyone 19 and older.
- Panoramic and full mouth X-rays will be covered once every five years as these are not required frequently and technology allows for easier X-ray transfers between dental offices
- An oral health exception process will be introduced to support the oral health of covered members and dependants diagnosed with cancer (including non-cancerous soft tissue tumours), as well as those living with permanent mental or physical disabilities.
NO CHANGE FOR DENTAL RATES
Much like the annual plan design review, each year the ASEBP Trustees review the ASEBP Dental Benefit List, which outlines how much we pay for dental services, to determine if changes are needed. For 2019, we’ll be keeping rates at their current levels so we can see if the reintroduction of a voluntary provincial dental fee guide has had an impact on dental fees—have dentists aligned their rates to the guide, have they gone up or has there been no change at all? The answers to these questions will give us a better picture of how our list compares to fees being charged across the province and will arm us with a full year of data for our next review.
STAY UP TO DATE
No matter the time of year, you can always find coverage information for your dental benefits through the Online Dental Guide on My ASEBP. Learn more about the Guide, and how you can use it to be a super-informed consumer of your dental benefits, through this article: Brushing Up on your Dental Benefits.
If you have any questions about the dental plan updates or the ASEBP Dental Benefit List, please give us a shout—we’re happy to help!