dental care in alberta

In Canada, oral health care is not included as part of the CHA (Canada Health Act). The majority of Canadians receive their oral health care through private dental clinics, and pay for the services they receive though insurance, or out of pocket.

According to the latest oral health component of the Canadian Health Measures Survey: (caphd.ca)

  • 62% of Canadians have private dental insurance.
  • 78% of respondents from the higher income bracket have private insurance coverage.
  • 53% of adults between 60 and 79 of age do not have any dental insurance.
  • 50% of respondents from the lower income bracket do not have any dental insurance.

Many individuals across Canada will not have dental coverage through their employer, and will purchase a private insurance plan through an organization such as Blue Cross. In Alberta, dental benefits for more than 370,000 people are paid according to the Alberta Blue Cross Dental Schedule.

What is the Alberta Blue Cross Dental Schedule?

The Alberta Blue Cross Dental Schedule is a foundation of payment for dental claims. Each year the schedule is updated with new rates to reflect changes in the economy, and so that it can continue to provide a fair and consistent basis of payment.

If there are increases, they are based on the results of a review undertaken annually by Alberta Blue Cross. Through the review process, the cost of each and every dental procedure is audited to ensure that the Dental Schedule continues to meet the requirements of both parties (plan members and dental providers).

The Dental Schedule accounts for the costs of operating a dental practice, and uses comparisons to rates for similar procedures across the country. There is no standard for dental procedures in most provinces, which means that prices for services will vary from practice to practice. This means that if your dental office charges more than what Blue Cross has determined as the set rate, you will be charged the difference. This means that it is important to be aware of the determined rates, and to cross reference those numbers with the prices for treatments at your chosen practice.

In these types of situations, it is up to the patient whether they want to pay the agreed upon amount, or find another dentist with different rates. (ab.bluecross.ca)