Seniors over 87 can apply to join federal dental plan starting next week

Seniors first for dental plan

UPDATE: 7:43 a.m.

Seniors over the age of 87 will be the first cohort that can apply to join a new federal dental-benefits plan, which will be phased in slowly over the next year.

Health Minister Mark Holland is announcing the rollout of the program this morning, and it is budgeted to cost $13 billion over the next five years.

The program is aimed at people with an annual household income under $90,000 who don't have access to private insurance.

Eligibility will be slowly expanded over the course of 2024 to include all qualifying seniors, children under the age of 18 and people with disabilities.

Once eligibility is expanded to all qualifying Canadian residents in 2025, it will be the government's largest social program.

The dental-benefits plan was originally pitched by the New Democrats, and is a key pillar of the supply-and-confidence deal between the NDP and the Liberals to secure the opposition party's support on key votes.

ORIGINAL: 6:04 a.m.

Several government ministers are expected to launch today a new federal dental insurance plan that will provide benefits directly to eligible Canadian residents, though the first claims won't be processed until May.

Government officials say the new program will be phased in slowly over 2024.

The officials provided a briefing to The Canadian Press ahead of today's announcement on the condition they not be named.

The insurance plan is a key pillar of the Liberals' supply-and-confidence deal with the New Democrats to secure the opposition party's support on key votes.

The deal calls for a plan that would offer dental benefits directly to Canadian residents with a household income under $90,000 and no private insurance.

Applications are expected to open as early as next week, starting with qualifying seniors over the age of 87, but it will take months before they can start to claim the benefits.

The Liberals promised the NDP the government would launch the insurance plan for seniors, children under the age of 18 and people with disabilities by 2024.

Though it will be months before many eligible people will be able to enrol and start receiving care, NDP health critic Don Davies says his party is ecstatic to have a concrete program in motion by the deadline.

All uninsured Canadians who fall under the family income threshold are expected to qualify for the plan in 2025.

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