BC government injects $105-million to help low income families cover Rx costs

The BC government is making a three-year, $105-million investment aimed at reducing or eliminating prescription drugs deductibles and co-payments for lower-income households.

The move is expected to help 240,000 British Columbian families.

"No one should have to make the difficult decision between their family's health and putting food on the table. We know that for many working households, needed prescriptions were going unfilled too often because Fair PharmaCare deductibles were too high." said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health.

These are the first ever changes to Fair PharmaCare deductibles and co-payments since the program was created 15 years ago.

Households earning up to $30,000 in net income annually no longer have a deductible.

Previously, a household earning a net annual income between $15,000 and $30,000 would have to pay between $300 and $600 in deductibles before Fair PharmaCare coverage would kick in.

Ministry of Health data has shown a link between low-income levels, deductibles and decreased drug spending, indicating that families will forgo filling prescriptions because of the cost, opting for other essentials, such as housing and groceries.

Deductibles and co-payments have been lowered for households earning between $30,000 and $45,000 net, annually. Fair PharmaCare co-payments have also been eliminated for seniors born before 1940 earning a household net annual income up to $14,000, and for the lowest income households - those earning up to $13,750.

Previously, anyone registered with Fair PharmaCare, even people with the lowest incomes, would have to pay out-of-pocket before receiving 100% coverage.


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