Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation
Dental and vision plan for children of low-income families established12 June 2012
FREDERICTON (GNB) – A new dental and vision plan for children of low-income families has been established, fulfilling a provincial commitment. Social Development Minister Sue Stultz made the announcement today.
"This new vision and dental plan provides the necessary coverage to children of low-income families," said Stultz. "This plan will enhance the quality of life for children by providing access to vision and dental services that may not have been previously available."
The plan comes into effect Sept. 1 and will cost $4.3 million annually.
The vision program will cover basic items, such as major yearly exam, lenses and frames, to a maximum of $220 every two years. The dental program will cover basic items, such as regular exams, X-rays and extractions, with some focus on preventative treatments, to a maximum of $1,000 per year.
"A key part of rebuilding New Brunswick together is to invest in valuable social programs," said Stultz. "As a government we will continue to work in partnership with businesses, community non-profit organizations and persons who have experienced poverty to improve and enhance the quality of life for people living in poverty."
The new dental and vision plan will cover all children of low-income families aged 18 and under. About 22,000 children will qualify for the new program.
Low income is determined according to the Market Basket Measure for New Brunswick families. For example, a family of four with two children would be eligible to receive benefits if their after-tax income is at or below $31,142.
The new dental and vision plan was developed based on recommendations made by the Advisory Committee on Health Benefits which is one of three committees established to address key issues in New Brunswick's fight against poverty.
"I thank the Advisory Committee on Health Benefits for its work in charting a dental and vision plan for children who otherwise would not have access to such coverage," said Stultz. "Everyone involved in this project has reason to be proud of what has been accomplished."
Once the new plan is implemented, children who currently receive vision and dental benefits under Social Development's Health Services Program will be transferred to the new dental and vision plan.