During a meeting with Saskatchewan MLAs on Monday, dental hygienists shared concerns that provincial sales tax (PST) could limit patient access to dental care.
The meeting was organized by the Saskatchewan Dental Hygienists Association to educate MLAs on oral diseases.
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Starting July 1, the PST will apply to insurance premiums, which could add $157.9 million to the treasury this year, CBC reported.
“Employers will now have to pay 6% on their current health benefits, which will significantly impact the amount of people that get employer health and dental benefits,” Saskatchewan Dental Hygienists Association executive director Kellie Watson said during the meeting.
Watson stated that dental hygienists can find ways to reduce costs to make their services more available to remedy the PST’s effects.
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“We believe that there’s a good amount of people in our province that are not accessing care that they should be,” she said. “And we want to reconnect the body with the head and neck and the mouth, and make sure that people know that oral health and systemic health is definitely connected.”
Estevan MLA Lori Carr, who was present at the meeting, argued that the PST change should not impact access to insurance.
“Some tough budget decisions were made and this was an area we decided to go in,” Carr maintained. “As a government we don’t feel it’s going to have a huge impact on it.”
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