Unlike many other developed countries, public healthcare in Canada does not include universal coverage for prescription drugs. Although efforts have been made since the 1960s to implement such coverage, the system continues to lack this essential component of healthcare.
Fortunately, drug benefit programs are available in each province to help alleviate the burden that drug expenses can place on some individuals and families. Keep in mind that provincial and territorial benefit plans are only available for eligible groups, and each plan is different.
In this guide, we will list and outline the drug coverage programs by province, spending the most time explaining provincial programs in British Colombia and Ontario.
Canadian drug coverage programs by province
Alberta’s Non-Group Coverage benefit provides residents under the age of 65 with access to prescription drugs.
BC residents who are enrolled in the Medical Services Plan (MSP) can access Fair PharmaCare for income-based coverage of prescription drugs. In addition, the household must spend a large portion of their income on prescription drugs, and private insurance must not cover the complete cost of the drugs.
Saskatchewan residents can enrol in the Special Support Program for access to prescription drug coverage.
Residents of Manitoba have the Pharmacare Program for financial assistance with prescription drug coverage.
The Trillium Drug Program (TDP) is the drug benefit program in Ontario. You can enrol in this program if you spend a large portion of your income on prescription drugs, your private insurance does not cover all of your drug costs, and you have a valid Ontario health card.
Quebec’s drug benefit program is called the Public Prescription Drug Insurance Plan, and it is for those not eligible for private insurance.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Residents of Newfoundland and Labrador with high drug costs can enrol in the Assurance Plan for assistance with drug costs.
In Nova Scotia, there is the Family Pharmacare program for residents with high household drug costs.
New Brunswick residents with limited or no private insurance have the New Brunswick Drug Program to assist with drug costs.
Prince Edward Island
There are several drug benefit programs in Prince Edward Island that can help residents without private insurance pay for prescription drugs.
In the Yukon, the Chronic Disease Program may assist households with costs of drugs treating chronic diseases or serious functional disabilities.
Residents of the Northwest Territories may benefit from Extended Health Benefits for drug treatments of specific disease conditions.
Nunavut residents with chronic diseases can turn to the Extended Health Benefit Chronic Illness Plan.
How to enrol clients in provincial drug programs
Most business owners in Canada are unaware that programs like these even exist. Making your clients aware of them and enrolling eligible members can greatly benefit both your business owner clientele and their employees. Members who have high prescription drug expenses can take advantage of the plans and ultimately take that cost burden off their private health plan.
To learn more about all of the provincial and territorial public drug benefit programs available in Canada, go here.
Each individual program is unique and has special eligibility requirements and enrolment processes. You can trust Benecaid’s team to efficiently and confidentially identify and enrol members into their corresponding provincial program.
Talk to us today about enrollment or questions you have relating to drug coverage by giving us a call at 416-626-8786 or sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.