All OPSEU-represented employees in the Ontario Public Sector (OPS) will soon have the option of having their insurance carrier pay most of their dental claim directly, rather than waiting to be reimbursed at a later date.
Currently, workers pay the full amount of their dental bill at the time of service, with Great‑West Life reimbursing up to 85 per cent of the total cost later on. But under a memorandum of agreement (MoA) signed by OPSEU and the Ontario government on June 7, employees will be able to pay only that portion of the bill not covered by insurance.
“When you go to the dentist’s office, the most painful part can come at the end – when you have to open your pocketbook,” said Mickey Riccardi, acting OPSEU co-chair of the Central Employee Relations Committee. “This MoA anesthetizes most of that pain. By choosing to have the carrier pay its share of the bill directly, employees no longer have to wait days or weeks to be reimbursed for often very expensive bills. For many workers, this can be inconvenient or even a financial burden.”
The new arrangement is entirely voluntary for employees and their dentists.
“Some folks like to pay their whole dental bill up front,” said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas, “but that’s not the case for everybody. Now, people will have the option to manage their dental bills in the way that works best for them. It’s a good thing.”