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  • News
  • March 20, 2018

MPP McGarry Announces New Program to Make Prescription Drugs Free for People 65 and Over

Expanding OHIP+ Will Make Prescription Drugs Free for Nearly One in Two Ontarians

CAMBRIDGE – Today the Ontario Government unveiled its plan to make prescription drugs free for people 65 and over, ensuring millions of people can afford the care they need during this period of economic change and uncertainty, announced Cambridge MPP Kathryn McGarry.

"Everybody in this province, no matter their age, deserves the chance to lead a healthy, happy life,” said McGarry. “This is especially true for our parents and grandparents, who have spent their lives working hard, raising children and contributing to our communities. Our government’s expanded OHIP+ program will ensure they get the medication they need for free, and reduce the financial stress for them and their families.

Through an expansion of OHIP+, more than 4,400 prescription drugs will be available free of charge to everyone 65 and over. Starting August 1, 2019, anyone aged 65 or older will no longer have to pay a deductible or co-payment and would be able to present their eligible prescription and OHIP number at any Ontario pharmacy and receive their medication for free.

On January 1, 2018, Ontario introduced OHIP+ Children and Youth Pharmacare, which made eligible prescription drugs free for everyone 24 and under and is the largest expansion of medicare in a generation.

“By expanding OHIP+ to seniors in the 2018 Budget, people 65 and over will now save an average of $240 every year – and for some much more,” added McGarry. “With nearly one in two people now to receive free prescriptions, we are that much closer to the universal pharmacare program that people need.”

Prescription drugs covered by this program include medications for cholesterol, hypertension, thyroid conditions, diabetes, and breathing issues, like asthma.

Today's announcement builds on steps taken to improve care and make life more affordable for seniors in Ontario, including:

Making prescription drugs free for people 65 and over is part of the government's plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.

QUICK FACTS

  • Currently, everyone 65 and over is eligible for prescription drug coverage through the Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) program, which requires seniors to pay deductibles and co-payments based on their income and other factors. Under the ODB, seniors are paying an average of $240 a year out of pocket for their medications.
  • This expansion of OHIP+ will eliminate the ODB’s deductible and co-payments for seniors, making over 4,400 medications completely free for everyone 65 and older who is OHIP-insured. Ontario will invest approximately $575 million by 2020-21 to align our seniors program with OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare.
  • Seniors (65 years and older) are Ontario’s fastest-growing age group. By 2041, it is projected that 25 per cent of Ontario’s population will be 65 years or older, almost doubling from 2016 to 4.6 million seniors.
  • Ontario’s online search tool helps people quickly and easily search through a list of more than 4,400 publicly funded medications and other drug products.
  • Through the Trillium Drug Program, Ontario makes life more affordable for those who spend approximately three to four per cent or more of their after-tax income on eligible prescription drugs by reducing the cost of medication to up to $2 per prescription, after a deductible.
  • Since launching on January 1st, 2018, OHIP+ has provided free prescriptions to over one million children and youth. The first of its kind program in Canada makes Ontario a leading voice in the movement for a universal pharmacare program that expands medicare to make prescriptions free for all Canadians.

 

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