For a family of four (adults under 65 years) with an annual combined income of $75,000, without private health insurance, the annual cost of drug coverage under the government’s Family Pharmacare Program is approximately $9,500.
If you are gainfully employed and have an employer drug plan, you probably don’t think about how much your drugs cost. If, however, you’re one of the growing numbers of individuals who are working part time or on contract and have no coverage, then drug costs may be an issue.
Hearing this got me wondering what the costs are like in other provinces. Each province sets its own pharmacare program so you know there’s going to be little consistency across Canada. Living in Ontario, I hear complaints all the time from individuals who have no private insurance and must rely on the Trillium Drug Program. Well, Ontario is a bargain compared to Nova Scotia. For the same parameters, the annual cost here would be about $3,000.
Here’s how some of the other province stack up using the $75,000 income level. Clearly, drug programs are not fair or equitable across Canada. Note: these are estimates based on the information provided on the various provincial websites and apply to individuals under 65 with no private health insurance.
British Columbia $3,000
Nova Scotia $9,500
New Brunswick $1,600 plus a per prescription fee
This brings up the age-old debate about the high cost of drugs to the Canadian taxpayer. Not only are some of the costs astronomical, but the lack of consistency across the country is particularly unsettling. Individuals and families with high drug costs relative to their incomes are being punished to varying degrees based on where they live.
A national pharmacare program could resolve this situation. There’s been a lot of talk about a program and the federal government is under a lot of pressure to create one, but so far there’s been no commitment. It’s important to keep fighting for better coverage so no one falls through the cracks.
Funding for prescription drugs is just one issue Canadians are dealing with when it comes to getting the healthcare they deserve. That’s what we specialize in. If you’d like to see how we can help you access the funding and services you need, give us a call.