Over 4,400 prescription drugs became free to children and youth living in Ontario in the new year
Gazelle Dehzad CONTRIBUTOR
Photo: Teen Health Source.
On January 1, 2018, all drugs available through the Ontario Drug Benefit Program became free to children and youth in Ontario under the age of 24, courtesy of OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare.
More than 4,400 prescription drug products are currently covered by OHIP+, including antibiotics, inhalers, diabetic medications (such as various insulins), oral diabetic medications, diabetes test strips, medication to treat chronic conditions like arthritis and epilepsy, drugs to treat cancers and rare conditions, medications to treat mental health conditions, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drugs, medication for mental health conditions, and epinephrine auto-injectors (EpiPens).
Not all medications are covered by OHIP+; those that are not may be available through the Exceptional Access Program (EAP). If qualified for the EAP, children and youth may be able to get coverage for the required drug.
“OHIP+ is a reputable program which allows coverage for post-secondary students attending university or college in another province,” pointed out Chantal Brobby, a first-year student at St. Michael’s College.
Students who attend post-secondary school outside of Ontario in another province are still eligible for OHIP+, as long as they remain insured by OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) for the duration of their studies and bring a valid prescription to any pharmacy in Ontario.
For most students living in another province, travelling to Ontario for a prescription is an inconvenience. Instead, they can apply for a travel supply by bringing a letter that confirms they are leaving the province for more than 100 days to the pharmacy.
Before OHIP+ was implemented, the Trillium Drug Program (TDP) was available to all households in Ontario. Coverage for the TDP is not automatic, as anyone who wants to enroll in the TDP has to apply and are only accepted if they meet the requirements.
Eligibility for the TDP is based on a household, which is defined by the TDP as “a single person or two or more people who are dependent on each other financially. A household does not include adult family members who are financially independent.” The TDP is currently still available to anyone over the age of 24 who meets the enrolment requirements.
OHIP+ is now the first payer of eligible drug products. Therefore, anyone under the age of 25 no longer needs private insurance unless they require a drug that OHIP+ does not cover and are denied by the EAP, in which case ?, and that the exceptional access program denied?, private insurance plans may still cover the required medication.
There is no enrolment or registration process required in order to access OHIP+. Coverage is automatic beginning January 1, 2018 for any infants, children, and youth who are already covered by OHIP. A health card or health card number is the only thing that is required by the pharmacies to fill out a prescription.