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Province adjusts pharmacare premiums for seniors

Income threshold that determines premiums is changing for first time since 2002

3 min read
caption The prescriptions desk at the Nova Pharmacy on Coburg Rd.
Jesse Laufer
The prescriptions desk at the Nova Pharmacy on Coburg Rd.
caption The prescriptions desk at the Nova Pharmacy on Coburg Rd.
Jesse Laufer

The Nova Scotia government is adjusting the Seniors’ Pharmacare Program thresholds for the first time since 2002.

Health and Wellness Minister Leo Glavine explained at a news conference that the co-pay — the amount seniors pay at the counter until they hit the $382 yearly maximum — will be reduced to 20 per cent of a medication’s cost, from 30 per cent. The changes will take effect April 1, 2015.

The province is also adjusting premiums based on income.

The Seniors’ Pharmacare Program is the provincially run medicaid program aimed at Nova Scotia seniors. It provides basic medical insurance and access to generic drugs and medication. It is optional, as some private medical insurance plans offer competitive service, but unlike private plans the province will not deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions.  

Individuals making more than $75,000 a year or couples with a combined income of more than  $100,000, will now have to pay $100 each, every month. But more low earning seniors and couples will be exempt from premiums altogether. This change affects those earning less than $22,986 a year living alone or $26,817 as a couple.

“Sixty-six per cent of the people in the program are either going to pay the same, or pay less than they do right now,” Glavine said.

The province has not changed premiums since 2007. It hasn’t changed the income threshold — the income scale used to judge premiums and exemptions — since 2002.

These changes are designed to catch up with inflation and create long-term sustainability for the Seniors’ Pharmacare Program. “Everyone needs to contribute a little bit in order for this program to stay sustainable,” the minister said.


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  1. R

    Robert Cox

    Don't need your drug plan. For $2400 private is in the ball park and as of right now my wifes drugs cost $172 per year and mine are less than $300. What happens when your higher incomes move out of province. Good luck, you will need it next election.
  2. c

    cyril mac donald

    for god sake you cant double a premium based on income .this is insane ....there are other ways you know to balance may lose those who are 40ooo to 100000of income,so weigh all other ways to make it work and keep them for those who care.......ok
  3. L

    Lester Gould

    This increase is ridiculous for seniors. It shows how far out of touch the govt. are with taxpayers. I supported you last time Leo but it wont happen again.
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