It’s a new year now and that means an update to the provincial dental fee guides. These guides are a reference of suggested fees for dental services, updated annually by each province’s dental association and used to help set rates for both dental practitioners and employer-sponsored benefits plans.
While these guides offer suggested rates, it’s important to note that there is no set rule that dentists and benefits plans must follow them; rather, the fee guides are meant to provide a helpful guideline. A dentist may set his or her own fees based on a variety of factors, from business costs to the particular needs of his or her patients.
Meanwhile, benefits plan sponsors will use the guides to determine suggested rates, but in some cases may be using past issues of the guide and/or may adjust the reimbursement amount based on factors such as employees’ usage of the plan or the company’s current financial situation.
However, even though the suggested rates in the dental fee guides are not mandatory, they do offer a useful baseline for benefits plan sponsors and insurance carriers to use when determining how much they will cover for dental services.
The provinces have each released their suggested guide rates for 2013. Here are the average increases for each province:
Alberta – 3.74%
British Columbia – 2.4%
Manitoba – 3.2%
New Brunswick – 2%
Newfoundland and Labrador – 5%
Nova Scotia – 2.63%
Ontario – 2.14%
Prince Edward Island – 2.73%
Quebec – 3.1%
Saskatchewan – 4.17%
Note that rates have not yet been published for the territories.