Changes will allow more low-income seniors to access dental care and prescriptions

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The Ontario government is updating the income eligibility thresholds for the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program and the Seniors Co-Payment Program to allow more of Ontario’s most vulnerable seniors to have access to dental care and affordable prescription medications.

Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health said the government is expanding access to more low income seniors to protect hospital capacity and improve the quality of life for low-income seniors.

In 2019, the Ontario government launched the Ontario Seniors Dental Care program to provide free routine dental care for eligible low-income seniors across the province. The Seniors Co-Payment Program enables low-income seniors to access the medication they need with no annual deductible and a reduced co-payment for each prescription.

Starting August 1, 2021, eligibility thresholds for both programs will be updated to reflect cost of living increases in Ontario and align with income support programs for seniors. Income thresholds will be updated for single Ontarians aged 65 and over, from $19,300 to $22,200, and for couples with a combined annual income, from $32,300 to $37,100. This will allow approximately 7,000 more seniors access the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program, and 17,000 more seniors to access the Seniors Co-Payment Program in 2021-2022. The changes are expected to support hospital capacity needs and end hallway health care.

For the Seniors Co-Payment Program, seniors who are eligible under the new income thresholds are encouraged to apply now in advance of the start of the upcoming benefit year on August 1st, 2021. Applying early will help ensure eligible seniors receive the reduction in their drug deductible and co-payment on time to minimize the chance of out of pocket expenses. Once an application has been submitted, eligibility will be assessed to confirm enrollment for the year.

Eligible seniors can apply at any time online, downloading and printing the application form, or by picking one up at their local public health unit. The form can be submitted online or by mail. For their application to be assessed under the new income thresholds, seniors who are eligible under the new income thresholds for the Ontario Seniors Dental Care Program can apply beginning July 1, 2021. For the Seniors Co-Payment Program, seniors who are eligible under the new income thresholds can apply now by completing the application that can be found online, or request an application over the phone toll free at 1-888-405-0405 or 416-503-4586. On the first day of the month after an Ontarian turns 65 years old, they are automatically enrolled in the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) program, which covers most of the costs of more than 5,000 prescription drug products. Seniors pay the first $100 of their prescription drug costs each year (the deductible) and up to $6.11 for every prescription (the co-payment). The Seniors Co-Payment Program, under the Ontario Drug Benefit Program (ODB), allows eligible seniors that are enrolled in the program to pay no annual deductible for their drugs, and a reduced co-payment of $2 for each prescription, improving access to essential drugs that they may not otherwise be able to afford.

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