There’s reason to smile, as more older adults in the region may now qualify for a provincial program that pays the costs of dental care.
The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is promoting new income limits that increase eligibility for the Province’s Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program (OSDCP). The publicly-funded program covers the cost of dental care for eligible low-income seniors who are 65 years of age and older. The OSDCP will pay for such procedures as dental checkups, fillings, fixing broken teeth, X-rays, removing teeth, and treating gum conditions and other infections.
To enable more seniors to access the program, the Ontario government is increasing income eligibility. As of now:
- A single Ontarian aged 65 and older who makes up to $22,200 per year is now eligible for the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program. The previous income limit was $19,300 per year.
- For couples, the combined income to qualify for the OSDCP goes up to $37,100 per year. This is a nearly $5,000 per year increase from the previous income cut-off.
“Many seniors on fixed incomes cannot afford to pay for dental care coverage, so having a program in place to help cover the costs is very important, especially when oral health can directly affect a person’s overall health,” says Anna Rusak, a Health Promoter with the HKPR District Health Unit. “We encourage local seniors to see if they qualify to take advantage of the increased eligibility for coverage under the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program.”
People can visit the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program web page to learn how to apply and print/download application forms. Copies of the application form can also be picked up at local Health Unit offices or requested by mail. For more information and assistance to complete OSDCP applications, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 1247.
While applauding the expanded eligibility for the program, Rusak says there are also improvements that could be made to the OSDSP. The Northumberland Oral Health Coalition, with whom Rusak is a member, has brought this to the attention of the local MPP, noting increasing awareness provincially about the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program would help more seniors use it. Streamlining the application process and ensuring seniors in long-term care homes and retirement homes can access the program are also important, Rusak adds.