More than 200,000 Estonian residents have taken advantage of the dental benefits introduced last year, with the Health Insurance Fund (Haigekassa) having disbursed some €9.5 million so far.
In the second half of 2017 90,000 people filed for dental benefits at a cost of €3.5 million to the state's health insurance scheme. In the first half of 2018, already 126,000 have done the same at the cost of €6 million.
Estimates at the time the benefits were introduced assumed that some €12 million would be spent on the benefits every year.
They are available to anyone with a contract with the Health Insurance Fund, this typically covering anyone employed and thus contributing to the state's labour tax revenue. Beyond that, people who have separate agreements with the fund can apply for the benefits also.
The Health Insurance Fund's aim is to enter into agreements over the scheme with 75% of Estonia's dentist practices and dental clinics within the next few years. At this point a little over half of them have signed these deals.
The overall aim of the new scheme is to improve dental health in Estonia on a larger scale. As the fund's Külli Friedemann explained to ERR earlier this week, they are hoping to decidedly improve the situation over the next decade.
In detail, patients can apply for up to €40 in benefits each year provided that they pay at least half of the bill in question themselves. Pregnant women, mothers of small children, pensioners or receivers of work inability benefits can get up to €85 a year provided that they pay 15% themselves.
Children and teenagers 19 or younger can get free treatment at any of the Health Insurance Fund's partner dental practices.
Editor: Dario Cavegn