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Dental charges keep rising
[Posted: Thu 14/01/2010 by Niall Hunter, Editor www.irishhealth.com]
Dental services are the only area of healthcare apart from hospital charges that have risen over the past year, according to the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI).
CPI figures for the 12 months to December 2009 show that overall, health costs dropped by 2.5% during that period. This compares to a 5.8% rise recorded for the 12 months ending December 2008
Prices charged in almost every health category went down during the 12 months to December 2009, with the exception of dentists' fees,which increased by 2.2%, and hospital fees, which went up by 11.7%.
Doctors' fees, which continued to increase until recently, are now starting to fall, with the 12 month figure to December showing a drop of 2.1% in medical fees.
While dental fees rose last year despite overall deflationary trends in the economy, the recent decision by the Government to almost completely abolish PRSI State subsidies for dental services may force a downward movement in dentists' private fees.
The latest CSI statistics show that health insurance costs increased by 21.3% from December 2008 to December 2009. Insurance costs are place under a different category to health under the CPI.
Overall, a 5% rate of deflation in the economy was recorded in the year to December 2009. The average annual rate of deflation last year was 4.5% compared to average inflation of 4.1% in 2008.
Meanwhile, up to 400 dentists from around the country are expected to attend a crisis meeting organised by the Irish Dental Association on Sunday.
The Association says the meeting will discuss the worsening outlook for dentistry as a result of the Government cuts to the PRSI subsidy scheme. The Association pointed out that as a result of the subsidy cut, people will receive practically no subsidised dental services despite still paying for them through PRSI.
The dental scheme whereby medical card patients can get free dental treatment from private dentists was also curtailed by the Government recently.
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