The Alberta government is set to limit the Seniors Benefit Drug Program to people over the age of 65. Consequently, 46,000 Albertans will have to seek an alternative insurance plan to cover their medical expenses. The government says the move is a cost savings measure.
CARP members have expressed concern that such a measure will put their loved ones at risk. “Insufficient drug coverage is a factor in thousands of avoidable hospitalizations and deaths every year,” said Marissa Lennox, Chief Policy Officer. “We’ve heard anecdotally from non-senior members, many of whom are on fixed incomes, who say they’re concerned about being able to afford their prescriptions now that they’ve been handed their termination notice.”
Albertans under age 65 are being encouraged to apply for Alberta’s non-group Blue Cross coverage. The cost for this plan varies depending on coverage, and subsidies are available for low income individuals.
Drug costs are the biggest barrier to medication adherence. This is why CARP has long advocated for a national pharmacare plan that improves access and affordability, and is fair and equitable.