By Michael Christianson
Prescription medications are now free for everyone under the age of 25 in Ontario. As of January 1, the province has made the biggest expansion to medicare in Ontario in a generation, providing drug coverage to over four million children and youth across the province. The launch of OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare is a national milestone as Ontario becomes the first province to provide prescription drug coverage to children and youth.
All people need to do is present their Ontario health card number along with a valid prescription at an Ontario pharmacy and medicine will be provided free of charge.
Pharmacist Adel Shafik from Dryden IDA Pharmacy says that the legislation is a big step and it will mean a lot for families in the area.
“Some families don’t have enough coverage or they don’t have enough money to fill a prescription, I have seen cases where they don’t come to pick up their prescription because medication is not covered and they can’t afford it. This legislation may be helping a lot of families to take extra care of their kids when they need medication. They can feel somebody taking care of them and their kids to fill the preseciption.”
Medications covered by OHIP+ include asthma inhalers, drugs to treat depression, anxiety, epilepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, antibiotics, EpiPens (epinephrine auto-injectors), insulin, diabetes test strips, oral contraceptives, medications to treat some childhood cancers and other rare conditions, and many others. People can search Ontario’s new medication coverage tool to see if their drugs are covered under OHIP+.
An estimated 1.2 million people in Ontario without drug coverage will benefit from OHIP+. This is according to a recent report by the Conference Board of Canada that estimates a drop from 13.2 per cent to four per cent in the number of people not currently eligible for drug coverage under a public or private insurance plan in Ontario.