Dental care on subscription proposed

Subscribe to dental care, sign agreements with your dentist and pay fixed fees in advance. That´s how the head of the government´s inquiry into dental care wants the Swedish system to work in future.

At the end of June, Curt Malmborg will make proposals regarding high cost care within the dental sector. It should cover all adults and not only those over 65, as is the case today.

Malmborg´s proposal consists of many different grades, meaninng that the treatment is never completely free. But he also wants to change the whole payment system and says that the costs could still be high for certain patients.

On top of basic state support the patient would sign an agreement with his or her dentist regarding certain types of treatment, which will be paid for.

“The patient will know what it all costs so it wont push the costs or the treatment in the dentist’s favour,” said Curt Malmborg to Svenska Dagbladet.

“It could become very expensive for those with major dental needs, but there will be solutions in these cases too,” he said.

Many county councils already apply different systems with “subscription dental care”. The models vary, as do the costs for the patients.

Such a system has been tried for the longest and is most developed in Värmland. The subscription is voluntary for anyone registered with the national dental service. Today, about five or six years after the system was introduced, 13,000 people have registered.

“They sign up for a period of two years and pay an annual premium which gives them all their dental care for free,” said dentist Jörgen Paulander to SvD, who is in charge of the project.

Health care minister Ylva Johansson said she thinks that fixed rate dental care is a good idea in principle. However, she said she feared that it would not be possible to include those people with the greatest dental care needs. They will require some form of high cost protection, according to SvD.

But private dentists are critical. They argue that the scheme will distort competition and that it will create problems for those who need major dental treatment.

“Not many people can afford a yearly premium of 10,000-15,000 kronor,” said Bengt Franzon, chairman of the Swedish association for private dentists.

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