SV has received approval to investigate a deductible ceiling at the dentist. It can be costly for the state. Many others can save very large sums.
– We start work on a dental health reform.
This message from Audun Lysbakken was part of what the SV leader drew out when he told on Monday what SV had achieved through the budget negotiations.
SV wants an end to the wallet deciding what kind of dental health you have. The party won half a price at a dentist for young people aged 21 and 22, increased support for orthodontics and increased funding for dental health for people with e.g. trauma and dental fear.
SV also received support for increased funding for the dental health service in general. Last year, there were extra people who were not called by the dentist at the scheduled time.
Deductible ceilings are SV’s goals
But it is an upper limit on expenses that is SV’s goal. It saw the party clearly from about in the election campaign. And now the party has gained support for a public committee to study various models for such a roof.
If you introduce a deductible ceiling, you do not have to pay a deductible at the dentist for expenses over this ceiling.
In connection with this year’s budget negotiations, SV has asked the Ministry of Finance to answer what the introduction of such a ceiling could cost, given different sizes of the ceiling. The Ministry makes many reservations about the figures, which come from the Ministry of Health and Care Services. They operate with both a high and a low estimate of possible costs.
It is stated in the Ministry of Finance’s response to SV that an increased demand for dental health treatment of 10 per cent alone will increase the price by NOK 1.2–1.3 billion. But it is pointed out that such “dynamic effects” are impossible to estimate without a thorough study.
Some groups already have their dental expenses covered. It is not deducted from the calculation.
Number that can benefit from roofs
Depending on how high you set it, it is estimated how many people will have lower expenses:
- Deductible ceiling of NOK 12,000: Gain for 200,000.
- Deductible ceiling of NOK 6,000: Gain for NOK 500,000
- Deductible ceiling of NOK 2,500: Gain for 1.1–1.2 million
The gain depends on the size of the roof
The calculations estimate that people’s annual expenses for dentists vary between 4200 and 4500 kroner on average:
- 65 per cent are assumed to have expenses below NOK 2,500. According to both high and low estimates, they have an average expenditure of NOK 1,500.
- 20 percent is assumed to have expenses from 2501 to 6000 kroner. The estimates vary from average expenses of NOK 3,500 to NOK 4,000.
- 9 percent is assumed to have expenses from 6001 to 12,000 kroner. The estimates vary from average expenses of 8000 to 8500 kroner.
- 6 per cent are assumed to have expenses in excess of NOK 12,000. The estimates vary from average expenses of 30,000 to 33,000 kroner.
With a ceiling of 12,000 kroner, people in the latter group will thus be able to save on average between 18,000 and 21,000 kroner.
There are many reasons why the Ministry of Finance makes reservations about how expensive such a reform can be.
«Dental treatment of adults is not a service where self-payment, diagnosis or type of treatment is registered in any public register. There is no national dental health register in Norway. All assessments of costs related to the introduction of various shielding schemes for dental treatment are therefore based on results from surveys “, the ministry states in a response to SV.
In an annual health account from Statistics Norway (SSB), it is estimated that the total costs of dental health services in the private and public sector were approx. NOK 17.3 billion last year.
Total deductible is estimated by Statistics Norway at around NOK 12.8 billion in 2019 and NOK 12.4 billion in 2020. The decrease last year is due to the pandemic.
Based on these figures, the Ministry estimates that free dental care for everyone will cost approx. NOK 12–13 billion a year. But it presupposes e.g. that people do not go to the dentist to a greater extent than before to get more treatment.
Previously put in the drawer due to the cost
The National Assembly’s national meeting decided already in 2009 that such a ceiling should be introduced for people’s expenses. The decision was made against the management’s warnings, and no ceiling was introduced the last time the red-greens ruled the country. It ended with minor changes such as this mini-reform from 2013: a benefit (800 kroner) for examination by a dentist for people aged 75 and older.
When the Solberg government took over, the scheme was discontinued.
According to the budget settlement, the government will also investigate one more thing, namely a status for the dental health services in Norway. It will cover everything from differences in use and access to differences in prices and treatment.