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DENTIST

Sweden to give free dental care for under-23s

Sweden is set to raise the maximum age for free dental care from 19 to 23, following government negotiations with the opposition Left Party.

Sweden to give free dental care for under-23s
Free dental care is currently only free in Sweden up to the age of 19. Photo: TT
“It's very clear today that class is an influence on dental care,” Ulla Andersson, economic spokesperson for the Left Party, told the Aftonbladet newspaper
 
“This is a step in the broadening of Swedish welfare, and it's very good news for all the young people in Sweden.”
 
Indeed, the Västra Götaland region has already trialed such a change – offering free dental care for those up to 24 – which saw twice as many 20 and 21-year-olds visiting the dentist compared to before the switch. 
 
The nationwide change will be made in two stages, seeing the cap raised to the age of 21 by 2017 and then to 23 the year after.
 
The reform is estimated to cost 223 million kronor ($26.4 million) in 2017 and 463 million kronor in 2018.
 
“Of course, the earlier we can get this in place the better. But there are many systems that need to be adjusted, meaning that it will be tough to push it through quickly,” Andersson added. 
 
The Left Party has managed to push through other health care reforms recently, including free mammography scans from the end of next summer and onwards, and free contraceptive pills for women under the age of 20, a move that will be rolled out after summer in 2017.
 
The Social Democrat-led government's full autumn budget, which will include more details on the dental treatment plans will be presented on September 21st.

OFFBEAT

Crime bureau strikes a nerve in dentist tax scam

Forty-five Swedish dentists risk falling foul of the law as the authorities launch an investigation into a suspected 113 million kronor ($16 million) tax dodge.

Crime bureau strikes a nerve in dentist tax scam

The Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) and the National Economic Crimes Bureau (Ekobrottsmyndigheten) have launched a joint investigation into suspicions that dentists from around the country have been secretly channeling funds to the the Isle of Man via Belgium and the Netherlands.

The money is believed to have been moved out of the country through the Stockholm subsidiary of a Dutch company, which approached the dentists with the scheme as a means of evading taxes in Sweden.

According to the investigation’s findings, the dentists drew relatively low wages from their practices, instead choosing to send any excess money to the Netherlands and eventually on to the Irish Sea tax haven.

Many of the dentists are thought to have invested in life insurance policies on the Isle of Man, while others obtained bank cards enabling them to make withdrawals from their secret fortunes on the island, newspaper Bohusläningen reports.

If found guilty, the dentists will have their incomes reassessed and will be ordered to pay back taxes, as well as facing hefty fines and jail terms of six months or more.