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Prescription Drug Insurance: Are You Covered? (Part 1)

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This article provides information to Canadians about the coverage surrounding prescription drug insurance.

As Canadians, we take pride in our accessible social services and especially in our health care system. Although there is often debate over health care issues, we generally feel safe, lucky and taken care of by the government. However, once we leave our GP’s office, prescription in hand, what happens then? The government covers most doctor’s fees but not the drugs that they prescribe. Prescription drugs can be extremely costly and can, at any time, take a bite out of one’s budget.

Prescription DrugsIn fact, Canadians are at the top of the list when it comes to prescription drug spending. A recent report published by Statistics Canada outlined a 71% increase in prescription drug expenditures between 1992 and 2002, and drug spending just keeps on rising. In 2001 Canadians were estimated to have spent an average of 500$ per person on medication. In 2005 that number had increased by over 250$ to a country-wide average of approximately 770$ per capita. This increase in cost can be attributed to both a rise in the price of prescription drugs as well as the growing number of drugs being prescribed. Whether it is antibiotics, Ritalin or pain killers, prescription drugs are becoming extremely common and drug companies are consistently developing improved yet more expensive drugs. This means that it is more important than ever to protect you and your family from such increasing costs.

If you are not covered by an employer, you should carefully consider the best plan for your needs. Private insurance plans can differ substantially in the amounts and types of medication that they cover, and they all have different deductibles and caps on payments. Make sure to understand who and what your plan will cover. You’ll be grateful in the long run to have chosen a solid plan which protects you and your family from unexpected costs.

Getting sick is always a hassle and sometimes it takes more than a pot of tea and some vitamin C to get us on our feet again. When you or a family member has an illness, the last thing you want to worry about is the cost of medication. For your own benefit, keep eating those apples and know the status of your coverage!

In Quebec
Depending on the province you live in, it might be mandatory for you to be covered by a prescription drug insurance plan. For instance, that is the case in Quebec where in 1997 mandatory drug coverage was put into effect. If you are an adult, employed and under the age of 65, you must have a group plan or be on the Quebec drug insurance plan.


About the Author:
Adriana Stefania is a freelance writer for Canada Health Insurance. For more information on health insurance for Canadians please visit