OHIP+: Ontario Families Receive New Benefit for Family Prescription Coverage

Ontario families struggling to pay for medications for sick or chronically ill children just received a financial shot in the arm. The Government of Ontario has just announced the introduction of a new drug coverage program called OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare. The program, which covers thousands of medications for children and adolescents, will go into effect on January 1, 2018. 

Who Will Benefit from OHIP?

Citizens 24 years of age or younger will be completely covered for the cost of all medicines that are currently funded through the Ontario Drug Benefit program. 

This is the first program of its kind and will be available for all youths in Ontario, regardless of family income or whether they have private insurance. The program will cover more than four million children and young people across the province.

What Will Be Covered under the New Program?

There are 4,400 medications that will be covered under the new OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare, including asthma inhalers, antibiotics, drugs to treat depression, anxiety, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and oral contraceptives.

The program will also cover medications that are used to treat common chronic conditions, childhood cancers, and other diseases. This program will help patients avoid reactions such as strokes, vision loss, and heart attacks due to lack of proper medications that their families may not be able to afford.

If patients require medications that are not included in the program, doctors can apply under the Ministry’s “Exceptional Access Program” to have other drugs they deem necessary covered by OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare.

What Will the Process Be Like?

Parents of children, students, and young adults would present their OHIP cards with their prescriptions from their doctors. No cash will be exchanged. Under this new plan, youth won’t have to process drug claims under their parents’ plans first, since co-payment and dispensary fees will not apply.

Parents whose children have cancer have been relying on the Trillium Catastrophic Drug Plan; they will now consequently save thousands of dollars under the new program. The Trillium deductible currently requires parents to pay four percent of their gross annual income. The program will make life more affordable.

What Does This Ultimately Mean?

This is a significant step for Ontario, one that the government hopes will set a trend for the rest of the country where no child will go untreated due to a lack of medical coverage. Ontario recognizes that where a family lives in the province shouldn’t affect access to proper medication for children and young adults.