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  • News
  • April 13, 2018

Making Prescription Drugs Free for People 65 and Over

Ontario Ensuring Seniors in Kitchener-Waterloo Can Afford the Care They Need


Making Prescription Drugs Free for People 65 and Over

Ontario Ensuring Seniors in Kitchener-Waterloo Can Afford the Care They Need

 

NEWS

April 13, 2018

 

Ontario is making prescription drugs free for everyone 65 and over, ensuring people in Kitchener-Waterloo can afford the care they need during this period of economic change and uncertainty.

 

MPP Daiene Vernile’s staff member, Rebecca Wagner, was at The Village at University Gates, a Schlegel Villages community, to lay out the government’s plan to expand OHIP+ and make life more affordable for 2.6 million seniors and their families.

 

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 more than 4,400 prescription drugs for free. By expanding OHIP+, which already covers youth under 25, to seniors in Budget 2018, people 65 and over will now save an average of $240 every year. Prescription drugs covered by this program include medications for cholesterol, hypertension, thyroid conditions, diabetes and asthma.

 

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

  • A new Seniors’ Healthy Home Program, providing a benefit of up to $750 annually for eligible households led by seniors 75 and over to help them live independently and offset the costs of maintaining their homes.
  • A new dental program, reimbursing 80 per cent, up to a maximum of $400 per single person or $600 per couple, of eligible dental expenses each year for those without workplace health benefits.
  • The Seniors’ Public Transit Tax Credit introduced in 2017 and saving seniors up to $450 a year on travel costs
  • $17 million per year to provide a high-dose flu vaccine free of charge to seniors, beginning in 2018-19
  • A free shingles vaccination now available for roughly 850,000 seniors between the ages of 65 and 70, saving them an additional $170 and helping to keep them healthy
  • Ontario’s leadership in achieving an enhanced Canada Pension Plan, which will result in greater retirement security for today’s workers
  • Aging with Confidence: Ontario’s Action Plan for Seniors, released in November 2017.

 

The government’s plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.

 

QUOTES

“Everybody in this province, no matter their age, deserves the chance to lead healthy, happy lives. Providing prescription drugs to seniors at no cost moves us one step closer to the goal of pharmacare for all people in Ontario.”
–– Dr. Helena Jaczek, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

 

“Through investments like this, Ontario is furthering its goal of being the best place in the world to grow older. Providing the supports seniors need to be independent, healthy and active, safe and socially connected, is a priority of our government. Ensuring seniors have access to free prescription drugs will help them remain healthy, so they can live their best lives.”
–– Dipika Damerla, Minister of Seniors Affairs

 

“Investing in care for seniors in critical, and recent initiatives such as expanded OHIP+ and the Seniors’ Healthy Home Program, will go a long way towards improving quality of life for our growing seniors population in Kitchener-Waterloo.  We need to create an affordable, safe and accessible community where everyone can thrive, regardless of their age.”        

–– MPP Daiene Vernile, Kitchener Centre

 

“As a seniors' care provider, we know how important it is for seniors to be on the correct medications.  This investment will ensure that more seniors have access to the medications they need to remain healthy, active, socially connected and contributing members of our communities.”

–– James Schlegel, CEO Schlegel Villages    

 

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. 

 

 

LEARN MORE

 

Aging with Confidence: Ontario's Action Plan for Seniors

 

Patients First Action Plan for Health Care

 

Ontario Drug Benefit Program

 

 

  

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