Province reconsiders dental aid income threshold
P.E.I. Health Minister Doug Currie is taking a second look at the new dental plan for children the province announced back in the spring, which would raise the family income threshold for eligibility.
The government is taking another look following criticism the new program will be too costly for many families.
Bob Boyle just took his three oldest children to the dentist and discovered under the new plan, starting Oct. 1, the price will go from $20 a visit per child to $100.
"That is a large burden to take on all at once, there will be families that will have a hard time with that," said Boyle.
"Children will slip between the cracks. Times are tight."
Under the new rules the family income threshold would be raised to $35,000. The Boyles make more than that, so they would have to start paying the full cost. Like many middle class families, they can't afford private insurance.
Health Minister Doug Currie is now reconsidering the proposed $35,000 income threshold.
"I asked for volumes of families impacted — 35 to 45, 45 to 55 thousand — the impact on travel," said Currie.
"I am listening and paying attention. We do have some fiscal challenges and realities, but certainly as the minister I wanted to step back and take a look at the decision."
The increase in income threshold is not the only reason the government has faced criticism. The province also intends to move all provincially-funded dental care to locations in Charlottetown and Summerside. The P.E.I. Dental Association expressed concern when the plans were announced in July that travel would be difficult for rural Islanders on limited incomes.
The association is pleased to hear government is reviewing the planned changes.
Currie said he'll decide in the next couple weeks if changes will be made to the dental assistance plan.