Alberta Blue Cross is reducing its rates for dental benefits to align with recent changes to Alberta’s dental fee guide.
The new fee guide, which took effect on Jan. 1, 2018, provides for an 8.5 per cent cut in suggested prices for 60 common procedures.
Group benefits plans provided by Alberta Blue Cross that refer to usual and customary dental fees will now reference the amounts contained in the new guide. While plan sponsors with administrative services-only arrangements already started to see their claims costs shrink as of Jan. 1, for employers with insured plans that already reference the new fee guide, Alberta Blue Cross will reduce dental rates by 6.5 per cent, effective March 1. It will also lower the renewal inflation factor for groups renewing for the rest of 2018.
“As the largest payer of dental services in Alberta, Alberta Blue Cross pays in excess of $430 million annually to dental providers on behalf of our customers,” said Ray Pisani, president and chief executive officer of Alberta Blue Cross, in a news release. “As a not-for-profit organization with a unique legislative mandate to serve the health and wellness of Albertans, we are committed to delivering the best value to our customers and ensuring the continued viability of our customers’ benefit plans.”
The company did offer a few caveats, noting the new dental fee guide is voluntary. As well, it said prices for services vary from dentist to dentist and, while more dental offices in Alberta are accepting the guide, some may charge more than what a plan pays regardless of its coverage level.