Seniors have earned their ‘ride’

Published: Thursday, May 14, 2009

Contrary to the views expressed in this column, Alberta seniors are not asking for a “free ride.” They are concerned that the new pharmaceutical strategy will place the burden on those who can least afford it — low and lower-middle income groups and especially the seriously ill. In effect, only single seniors with a taxable income of up to $12,000 [and families with up to $24,000] will have full drug coverage. Thereafter, the co-payment of $15 per prescription can be a heavy burden — a person with just three monthly prescriptions would be paying $540 annually and, depending on their income, a premium of $381 or more as well. A person with a chronic illness could easily be taking six or more drugs, which would bring the annual cost to $1,080 plus the premium.

More important are the drugs that are not listed on the provincial formulary and would not qualify for the drug plan. The full cost of such drugs would still be borne by the seniors.

Alberta seniors aren’t looking for a free ride–just a fair ride.

Susan Eng, vice-president, advocacy, CARP, A New Vision of Aging for Canada, Toronto.

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