The British Columbia government has announced that it plans to eliminate or reduce prescription-drug deductibles for low-income earners throughout the province.
Health Minister Adrian Dix says single people and families with a net household income under $45,000 will benefit from changes to the Fair PharmaCare plan.
According to Dix, the biggest impact will be felt by families with net annual incomes between $15,000 and $30,000. Those families will have no deductibles starting Jan. 1, 2019. Deductibles will be lowered for families with net incomes under $45,000.
“This is a crucial step forward in improving the health and lives of thousands of British Columbians,” Dix said.
“We know that in families earning under $30,000 in net income, needed prescriptions go unfilled too often because PharmaCare deductibles are too high. The step we’re taking today is a significant one, as deductibles have not been changed in 15 years.”
Co-payments will also be eliminated for families with a family member who is 79 or older with net incomes below $13,750.
A total of $105 million is being invested in Fair PharmaCare over three years to eliminate or reduce the deductibles. This will be the first changes to deductibles since 2003. Dix said previously, deductibles went from $0 to $300 when a family’s income reached $15,000. Those making $30,000 had to pay $900 a year.
He says the cost means people have sometimes not filled prescriptions in order to pay for other essentials such as groceries.
Green party spokeswoman Sonia Furstenau says the $105-million investment in Fair PharmaCare will improve the health of families facing an affordability crisis.
With files from The Canadian Press