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Written Answers - Dental and Optical Benefit Scheme

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 765 No. 3

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 312.  Deputy Kevin Humphreys Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys  asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton  the reduction on fees paid to dentists and opticians since 2009 under the treatment benefit scheme; the annual saving realised from those measures; the specific itemised fees currently paid to dentists and opticians under this scheme; if she will provide a sum total of the annual amount of fees paid under each item; the amount in total that was spent in 2011; the expected spend in 2012; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24157/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The Dental and Optical Benefit schemes have been limited to the provision of free dental and optical examinations since 1 January 2010. Treatments previously covered under the schemes, such as fillings, extractions, spectacles and lenses, have not been paid on claims approved on or after that date. The current treatments, associated fees and the total 2011 cost in each instance are detailed:

Treatment Current Fee Cost in 2011
Dental Examination €33.00 €8.99 million
Ophthalmic Examination €22.51 €2.85 million
Ophthalmic Exam (with dilation) €45.02 €195,000
Medical Eye Exam (single) €25.55 €920
Medical Eye Exam (double) €51.10 €239,600

The total annual fees and savings are detailed below (2009, as the last year before the schemes were reduced, is used as the reference point):

Scheme 2009 Spend 2011 Spend Saving
Dental €62.28 million €9.15 million €53.13 million
Optical €16.99 million €3.29 million €13.7 million
Total €79.27 million €12.44 million €66.83 million

The projected spend on the Dental benefit scheme in 2012 is approximately €8.5 million, with €3.4 million expected to be spent on the optical scheme.

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