New dental care program for low-income Ontario seniors

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The Ontario government will launch a publicly-funded dental care program for low-income seniors starting late summer 2019.

The Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program will support Ontarians aged 65 and older with an income of $19,300 or less, or couples with a combined annual income of $32,300 or less, who don’t have dental benefits.

“The health and well-being of seniors across the province is one of our government’s top priorities,” said Seniors and Accessibility Minister Raymond Cho. “For many lower income seniors, it is hard for them to access affordable dental care. This program is putting seniors first by providing the essential services they need and deserve.”

Seniors’ applications will be assessed by public health units, community health centres and Aboriginal Health Access Centres across the province for eligibility.

Two-thirds of low-income seniors currently lack access to dental insurance.

In 2015, almost 61,000 hospital emergency visits for dental problems cost Ontario’s health-care system approximately $31 million.

The announcement follows news of the Progressive Conservative government’s plan to cut provincial public health funding by $200 million over the next year.

The government plans to expand the program by winter 2019 to include new dental services in underserviced areas, with mobile dental buses and more dental suites in public health units.

One thing is for sure, better oral health will mean fewer visits to the hospital. -CINEWS

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