Dental care must be covered by basic insurance, campaigners say

Dental treatment for adults should be included in the basic health insurance package again because so many low income families are neglecting their teeth, according to health charity Dokters van de Wereld and the FNV trade union. 

Dental care for adults was removed from the health insurance system in 2006 as one of a packet of measures to cut healthcare costs. 

Research by the FNV involving 28,000 members last year found that 18% have cut back on visits to the doctor or dentist and more recent research suggests almost 65% found paying healthcare bills to be a problem.

The union and aid group will present their case to parliament later on Wednesday. They say that covering dental care in basic health insurance will be cheaper than the current approach because of the physical and mental problems bad teeth can lead to. 

“If you are in pain, it has a negative effect on your life and bad teeth do not help you to find a job,” FNV deputy chairman Kitty Jong told the AD. “And we know that if adults do not visit the dentist, their children will not go either.” 

Health minister Ernst Kuipers said at the end of 2022 that he had no plans to include dental care in basic health insurance again. Dental care is free for children up to the age of 18.

A dental policy covering 75% of bills up to a maximum of €250 in a calendar year costs around €140 per year. But this is not enough to cover major treatment.

Recent research by the Acta dental teaching hospital in Amsterdam also found there has been an increase in the number of people avoiding the dentist over the past few years. 

It found that 80% of the Netherlands’ poorest families avoid the dentist because of the cost.

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