Ontario backtracks on drug plan deductibles hike for seniors above low-income threshold

News Apr 04, 2016 by Rob Ferguson OurWindsor.Ca

Ontario is backing down on a controversial scheme to raise public drug plan deductibles for seniors by 70 per cent to $170 for those above new low-income thresholds, Health Minister Eric Hoskins said Monday.

That increase, first announced in the late February budget, caused an immediate backlash and quickly sent Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government back to the drawing board.

“We will not be increasing the contribution from seniors who do not qualify for the low-income program,” Hoskins told reporters at a pharmacy near the Dupont subway station.

“That status quo will remain.”

The minister announced another new measure: indexing the income qualification thresholds to inflation, which he said will bring another 30,000 seniors a year under the protection of the low-income program.

Those thresholds were raised in the February budget to $19,300 for single seniors, up from $16,018, and to $32,300 for couples, an increase from $24,175.

CARP, an organization that advocates for older Canadians, had raised concerns that those thresholds were still “very low” and that the deductible increase from $100 would “have a significant negative impact on many seniors whose income is just above the income threshold.”

Many of them rely on multiple prescriptions to manage chronic conditions, warned Wanda Morris of CARP.

Hoskins said he did not have a dollar figure on how much it will cost the government in revenue to forego the higher deductibles and finance the indexing as it reconsiders all public drug programs in a wide-ranging review.

Opposition parties and seniors’ groups complained the new thresholds, which take effect Aug. 1, are too high and leave seniors vulnerable to higher out-of-pocket drug costs.

The increased deductibles had been intended to help subsidize the cost of bringing about 173,000 more seniors under the low-income threshold, saving them an average of $130 a year on out-of-pocket drug costs.

Toronto Star

Ontario backtracks on drug plan deductibles hike for seniors above low-income threshold

Public backlash forces province to reverse controversial scheme to raise public drug plan deductibles for seniors by 70 per cent to $170 for those above new low-income threshold

News Apr 04, 2016 by Rob Ferguson OurWindsor.Ca

Ontario is backing down on a controversial scheme to raise public drug plan deductibles for seniors by 70 per cent to $170 for those above new low-income thresholds, Health Minister Eric Hoskins said Monday.

That increase, first announced in the late February budget, caused an immediate backlash and quickly sent Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government back to the drawing board.

“We will not be increasing the contribution from seniors who do not qualify for the low-income program,” Hoskins told reporters at a pharmacy near the Dupont subway station.

“That status quo will remain.”

The minister announced another new measure: indexing the income qualification thresholds to inflation, which he said will bring another 30,000 seniors a year under the protection of the low-income program.

Those thresholds were raised in the February budget to $19,300 for single seniors, up from $16,018, and to $32,300 for couples, an increase from $24,175.

CARP, an organization that advocates for older Canadians, had raised concerns that those thresholds were still “very low” and that the deductible increase from $100 would “have a significant negative impact on many seniors whose income is just above the income threshold.”

Many of them rely on multiple prescriptions to manage chronic conditions, warned Wanda Morris of CARP.

Hoskins said he did not have a dollar figure on how much it will cost the government in revenue to forego the higher deductibles and finance the indexing as it reconsiders all public drug programs in a wide-ranging review.

Opposition parties and seniors’ groups complained the new thresholds, which take effect Aug. 1, are too high and leave seniors vulnerable to higher out-of-pocket drug costs.

The increased deductibles had been intended to help subsidize the cost of bringing about 173,000 more seniors under the low-income threshold, saving them an average of $130 a year on out-of-pocket drug costs.

Toronto Star

Ontario backtracks on drug plan deductibles hike for seniors above low-income threshold

Public backlash forces province to reverse controversial scheme to raise public drug plan deductibles for seniors by 70 per cent to $170 for those above new low-income threshold

News Apr 04, 2016 by Rob Ferguson OurWindsor.Ca

Ontario is backing down on a controversial scheme to raise public drug plan deductibles for seniors by 70 per cent to $170 for those above new low-income thresholds, Health Minister Eric Hoskins said Monday.

That increase, first announced in the late February budget, caused an immediate backlash and quickly sent Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government back to the drawing board.

“We will not be increasing the contribution from seniors who do not qualify for the low-income program,” Hoskins told reporters at a pharmacy near the Dupont subway station.

“That status quo will remain.”

The minister announced another new measure: indexing the income qualification thresholds to inflation, which he said will bring another 30,000 seniors a year under the protection of the low-income program.

Those thresholds were raised in the February budget to $19,300 for single seniors, up from $16,018, and to $32,300 for couples, an increase from $24,175.

CARP, an organization that advocates for older Canadians, had raised concerns that those thresholds were still “very low” and that the deductible increase from $100 would “have a significant negative impact on many seniors whose income is just above the income threshold.”

Many of them rely on multiple prescriptions to manage chronic conditions, warned Wanda Morris of CARP.

Hoskins said he did not have a dollar figure on how much it will cost the government in revenue to forego the higher deductibles and finance the indexing as it reconsiders all public drug programs in a wide-ranging review.

Opposition parties and seniors’ groups complained the new thresholds, which take effect Aug. 1, are too high and leave seniors vulnerable to higher out-of-pocket drug costs.

The increased deductibles had been intended to help subsidize the cost of bringing about 173,000 more seniors under the low-income threshold, saving them an average of $130 a year on out-of-pocket drug costs.

Toronto Star