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Dental benefits cancelled overnight, patients flock to dentists

Experts warn of negative consequences.

By: sme.sk

  • Apr 19 2024
  • 55
Dental benefits cancelled overnight, patients flock to dentists
Dental benefits cancelled over

Thanks to dental benefits, Slovaks could save between €120 to €150 every year per family member.

This week the Health Ministry announced an unexpected change: as of May 1, they are cancelling the provision of dental benefits by health insurance companies.

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"The educational potential of the dental benefits increasing preventive examinations has been exhausted. It needs to be re-evaluated and new versions aimed at prevention found," says Health Minister Zuzana Dolinková (Hlas).

The provision of the benefit in its current form will end in April.

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"From my point of view, it's not standard to cancel the benefits basically overnight," says Igor Moravčík, president of the Slovak Chamber of Dentists (SKZL). He adds that no one told SKLZ anything either when the benefits were introduced or cancelled.

"In case new benefits are introduced, we will offer solutions and can set the benefits, so that they don't burden dentists but motivate patients. All that's necessary is communication," he explains.

The new situation not only surprised the experts, but also patients, who reacted immediately to the unexpected news.

"Right after the information was published, patients flocked to the waiting rooms, demanding appointments, trying to pay deposits for jaw-orthopedic appliances in order to claim the benefit from a health insurance company," Marián Sabo, president of the Slovak Orthodontic Society, describes the current situation. He adds that dental staff is facing very unpleasant situations as patients have an extremely short time until the benefits are cancelled.

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"We consider such an approach by insurance companies and the state towards health care providers and especially patients to be unacceptable. We are calling on them to reconsider their decision, and either keep the benefits at their current level or find an adequate replacement," says Sabo.

How much did insurance companies offer?

The dental benefits were offered by all health insurance companies in Slovakia: Všeobecná zdravotná poisťovňa (VšZP), Dôvera and Union.

To claim the benefit, a patient had to visit a dentist who had a contract with a insurance company, undergo a dental check-up once a year and a general check-up once every two years. When it comes to children, it depends on their age.

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