Without a universal prescription drug plan, coverage in Canada vastly differs depending on where you live. In Alberta, even publicly-funded programs require co-payments or deductibles, which have proven to reduce access.
- 21 percent of respondents in Alberta said they or someone else in their household hadn’t taken medication as prescribed because they couldn’t afford to.
- Public spending in Alberta covers less than half the cost of prescription medicine.
- An estimated one in three of the province’s 2,301,100 workers – 767,033 – don’t have health benefits.
- In Canada, only about 27 percent of part-time workers have prescription drug coverage. That means that in 2015, about three quarters of Alberta’s 390,300 part-time workers didn’t have prescription drug coverage.
- Alberta’s Coverage for Seniors Benefit covers seniors and they don’t have to pay a premium, but they do have a co-payment of 30 percent of each prescription up to a maximum of $25.
- The province’s Non-group Coverage Benefit covers prescriptions for those under 65 and their dependents, but requires a monthly deductible payment of $63.50 for individuals and $118 for families, in addition to a 30% co-payment, up to a maximum of $25 per prescription.
- Even charges as low as $2 have been found to be a barrier to taking medication as prescribed.
This patchwork coverage leaves many Albertans without access to the medication they need, either because they don’t have a prescription drug plan or have plans that don’t cover the cost.
Everyone should have equal access to the prescription drugs they need regardless of where they live. It’s time for a universal prescription drug plan.