To protect the security of personal information, your Internet browser will need to be upgraded to access this website. Please ensure you use the latest version of:
Dental health is an important part of your overall health. Two of the keys to getting the most out of group dental coverage are understanding the dental landscape in Alberta and educating your employees to make sure they are being the best dental consumers possible every time they go to the dentist. We hope that this information will help you develop an understanding of your group dental benefits.
The Government of Alberta announced that the Alberta Dental Association and College (ADA&C) has introduced a new fee guide effective January 1, 2018. The intent of this fee guide was to eventually provide standard rates for all dental services in Alberta. Because the rates included in the guide were on average about 8.5 per cent less (based on an average of 60 procedure codes from a 2016 dental association survey) than those currently being charged by many Alberta dentists, the hope was that dental fees across the province would be lowered and Albertans and plan sponsors alike would realize dental savings.
While some dentists have adopted the new ADA&C guide, following the guide remains strictly voluntary. Ultimately, this means that Alberta dentists still charge varying prices for dental services.
Many benefit providers, including Alberta Blue Cross, have adopted the ADA&C guide as the basis of payment for at least some of their dental claims. When this is the case, there is the potential to experience plan savings based on a reduction in claims costs for many common dental procedures. However, it is important to note that the direct impact of the reduction will vary based on plan design, usage and plan member and dental provider behaviour.
The impact to your employees will depend in part on whether or not dentists reduce their fees to align with the ADA&C fee guide. If they do, then your employees could find themselves paying less out of pocket for most dental procedures.
If dentists do not charge the ADA&C fee guide fees, the reality is that your members may actually pay slightly more out of pocket as their plan's level of coverage may have lowered to match the ADA&C guide. The best way to help your employees avoid or offset a potential increase in dental expenses is to ensure that they take advantage of opportunities to coordinate their benefits or use spending accounts if available. In addition, it is important that employees become informed dental consumers who are aware of the potential savings that can be generated by shopping around and comparing various dental services.
Because different dentists can charge varying rates for dental services, it’s important to be as informed as possible before getting dental work done. Here are some actions we recommend you suggest your employees take to get the most out of their dental benefits:
Step one: identify their coverage
Step two: find out what their dentist will charge
Step three: stay or shop
Contact your benefit provider to learn more about your dental benefits. Most benefit providers can provide you with additional information regarding your plan and can provide you with educational materials for your employees.