The Rural Pharmacist: Changes to Senior Co-Payment and Website Launch

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by Devon Myers, Pharmacist/Owner of Evergreen Pharmacies

It’s that time of the year again : Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) deductible season. Maybe this is your first year being eligible for coverage through the provincial drug insurance program. Maybe it’s your 25th! Regardless, it’s always worth a mention as August 1st seems to sneak up on all of us. Why don’t we start off with a refresher of what the deductible represents? Subsequently, I’d like to touch upon a change that will take place starting August 2021. For our readers it may be worth following along as the updated program might save eligible households a few dollars.

The ODB program allows individuals 65 years of age and older to receive coverage for an array of medications in Ontario. However, to gain access to the program individuals must pay an annual deductible of $100. Most people are familiar with the concept of a deductible. Imagine driving down Highway 11/17 and a transport throws a stone into your window. Crack! Hopefully that didn’t hit home with anyone. It’s not like it happened to me recently or anything. Anyway, in order for your windshield to be fixed you may have to pay a deductible before your insurance kicks in. That’s essentially it. The same concept applies to the deductible paid through the ODB program. The good news is that once your deductible has been satisfied the regular co-pay, the amount paid per prescription, goes back to normal.

Some seniors get additional coverage through what is known as the Seniors Co-Payment Program (SCP). This program is intended to help reduce the cost of medications for individuals who have an annual income below a certain threshold. In this program, recipients do not have to pay an annual $100. They also have smaller co-payments with each prescription. It is the SCP that is undergoing modifications which could prove beneficial for our patients.

Starting August 2021, the income eligibility for the SCP is being updated from $19,300 to $22,200 (for single seniors) and $32,300 to $37,100 (for senior couples). The application process is pretty straight forward. An application form can be found on the Ontario Ministry of Health’s website. Can’t find it? We can help you out! Just ask for a copy at the pharmacy. Once you’ve completed the application the government will ask for certain documents in order to verify your income. That’s it. If you think you may qualify it’s definitely worth a few minutes to check out. If you don’t qualify, recommend the program to a friend. Everyone can use a hand.

Lastly, we launched a new website for our patients to peruse! Our web address is Jump on and give it a view. There’s a lot of information that we share on our website. We also catalogue our monthly articles which is helpful if you ever lose your print copy. Our functional website allows you to fill prescriptions, sign up for email newsletters and also transfer prescriptions. Still have neighbours that haven’t utilized our local service? Direct them to our website and they can begin the pain free process from the comfort of their couch. If you’re already signed up for our email newsletter, the link for the SCP application form can also be found there.