Low-income BC families no longer required to pay prescription drug deductibles

Jan 4 2019, 6:50 pm

Low-income families in BC will no longer be required to pay prescription drug deductibles, thanks to a new, three-year investment of $105-million the provincial government announced today.

The government said these are the first changes to Fair PharmaCare deductibles and co-payments since the program was created 15 years ago.

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

The changes, he said, “will provide thousands of families with the relief they need.”

As an example, the province said as of January 1, households earning up to $30,000 in net income annually no longer have a deductible, meaning the province will help pay for eligible prescription drug costs right away.

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 would start to provide coverage assistance.

The government noted that families earning under $45,000 in net annual income are also benefiting from this investment.

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.

“The deductible and co-payment changes rank among the most progressive policy changes made to a provincial public drug plan in recent times,” Dix said. “Our government is taking action now to help people access the prescription medication they need today.”

The government noted that this investment will benefit 240,000 families in BC.