If you live in Ontario, chances are you have heard about the rise in the minimum wage to $14 an hour. However, equally exciting, especially for families, is the new rule regarding medication for those under 25. Effective immediately, those in that age bracket will receive their medication free.
The program is called OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare and available to the province’s 4 million citizens under the age of 25.
This is excellent news! Senior citizens already enjoy such an accommodation, but it is particularly good that another vulnerable portion of society has one less worry. For lower-income families, every penny counts. Drug and dispensing costs may not be much of a burden if there is an occasional cold. However, when more serious problems occur, and there are several children, this can be a significant financial burden. Generic drugs have helped to reduce costs, but some medications are not available in this format, so the monthly expenses can really add up.
The new law also makes things easier for students. With the rising costs of tuition, books, and accommodation, many college and university students are having a tough time. Even having a part-time job is not always allowing these hard-working young people the chance to break even each month.
The Ontario government’s actions follow a report earlier this year that showed Canadians pay far more for prescriptions than those in comparable high-income countries that also have universal health care.
All that is required to receive free medication is an OHIP card and a valid prescription. In all, 4400 medications fall into this category, all of which can be found in the Ontario Drug Benefit Formulary. Premier Kathleen Wynne mentioned that she hopes to eventually expand the program to all ages, and looks to discuss this later in the year with representatives of the federal government.