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Author Topic: Welcome to the Drug Plan  (Read 265 times)

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Offline BristolUK

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Welcome to the Drug Plan
« on: December 13, 2013, 06:23:03 PM »
A cautious welcome to the new NB Drug Program.
I say cautious because it's not really been made certain how it will work - guaranteed - from 2015.

Currently, if you don't have a plan through employment or privately you are stuck with paying through the nose for the cost of the prescriptions and supplies.

The exception being those on social assistance or those whose income is insufficient to meet needs plus the medical/prescription costs. The latter people have to jump through hoops every year and a real strict assessment is made - even considering income from GST refunds and the income of others in the house. If eligible, those pay $4 per prescription. Even that can mount up.

The new system will be voluntary from next year with a monthly premium and then 30% of each prescription - subject to a max of $30 each one. The premium is decided by income levels.

For a few it won't make much difference. It will cut the monthly cost for drugs but the monthly premium may swallow up savings.

But it looks to be a big advantage for those with many prescriptions or an income not currently considered low enough.

One assumes the current program will remain in place.

From 2015 the system will be mandatory and will replace the existing program - with talk of penalties for those not paying premiums.

It is envisaged that with so many people enrolling - what with it being mandatory - the premiums will come down so that those currently qualifying for the $4 a time program will not have to pay a monthly contribution and will pay $5 each time.

On the face of it that's not bad, providing the premium does come down. I haven't seen anything about a maximum cost to the patient yet. Right now, there's a maximum of something like $400 a year and that's important for those needing more than 8 prescriptions.

For example, 10 prescriptions @ $4 comes to $40 a month and $480 a year and you don't pay all of it. The new system would mean 10 @ $5 = $50 and $600 a year.

Hopefully they've put a maximum in somewhere.

Perhaps the biggest change will be that all those hoops will be removed, with a simple declaration of income, checked through Revenue Canada, as with other programs.

No more to-ing and fro-ing all over town anymore.

Unless, of course, next year the gov has a change of heart.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2013, 06:24:36 PM by BristolUK »
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Offline BristolUK

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Is it welcome to the new Drug Plan?
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2014, 07:11:23 PM »
Quote
For a few it won't make much difference. It will cut the monthly cost for drugs but the monthly premium may swallow up savings.

But it looks to be a big advantage for those with many prescriptions or an income not currently considered low enough.

Here's an example. I have pills for blood pressure and cholesterol control.
The cost of generic meds is $44.75 a month. If I get 3 months together I can do it for $27.86.

If I sign up to the drug plan this year the meds cost will fall to (30%) $13.43 but there's a $62 premium, so the new total cost is $75.43.

Left to my own devices I can do it for $44.75/27.86  paying monthly/3monthly.

I'd be mad to sign up to the new system and pay $75.43.

But next year there's no choice. With these meds you have to 'agree' to pay an extra $30 to $48 a month or face a fine.

Not a surprise if people are reluctant to sign up.
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Offline BristolUK

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Re: Is it welcome to the new Drug Plan?
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2014, 07:12:00 PM »
Here's an example. I have pills for blood pressure and cholesterol control.
The cost of generic meds is $44.75 a month. If I get 3 months together I can do it for $27.86 a month.

If I sign up to the drug plan this year the meds cost will fall to (30%) $13.43 but there's a $62 premium, so the new total cost is $75.43.

Left to my own devices I can do it for $44.75/27.86  paying monthly/3monthly.

I'd be mad to sign up to the new system and pay $75.43.

But next year there's no choice. With these meds you have to 'agree' to pay an extra $30 to $48 a month or face a fine.

Not a surprise if people are reluctant to sign up.
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Offline BristolUK

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Re: Welcome to the Drug Plan
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2014, 07:22:04 PM »
Now, as it happens, there's a third set of pills I'm supposed to take. If I add the cost to the other two, a month's worth of all three pills would be $66.23. (If I buy three months in advance it would be $40.91)

In the new drug plan, that $66.23 would reduce to $19.88, but the premium takes the total to $81.88 and that is still $15 to $41 more expensive than just paying for everything.

So even with three regular prescriptions, the new plan is of no advantage at all.
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Offline BristolUK

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Is the new Drug Plan welcome?
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2014, 07:29:58 PM »
Not being an advantage is one thing. Having to double one's costs to continue being treated or face a fine is something else entirely.
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Offline BristolUK

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Re: Welcome to the Drug Plan
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2014, 07:40:09 PM »
To be fair, if prescription costs are particularly high,the new plan is of benefit.

For example a lot of people take insulin - often two types. Monthly cost can be around $200 depending on how much your dose is. Unlike the other pills there's no significant saving from buying three months ahead.

The new plan, limiting cost to $30 each means this will cost $60 plus the $62 premium, so $122 instead of $200.

Just a shame that the four times a day testing and shooting is going to set you back another $150 a month on top.

In other provinces diabetics get assistance with this. Ontario for example contributes $100 a month for testing and injecting needs.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2014, 07:42:51 PM by BristolUK »
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Offline BristolUK

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Re: Welcome to the Drug Plan
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2014, 08:01:09 PM »
Now it begins to look significantly better doesn't it.

You're unfortunate to have a medical condition...likely several...and you are faced with spending a fortune. Find yourself with fibromyalgia, arthritis and other related pain/inflammation conditions and you may need three drugs for various aspects of the treatment that total $450 a month without the costs of other things to counter side effects. Call it $500. It's probably more but let's not get carried away.

Anyway, that $500 a month is $6k annually.

New, New Brunswick Drug Plan to the rescue. You're going to have 3 drugs limited to $30 each, so that's $90, and your contribution to the others is around $15. With your premium you are now paying $167.

Yippee....you're now paying only $167 instead of $500.

Great.

Except that.......to be continued......
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Offline BristolUK

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Re: Welcome to the Drug Plan
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2014, 08:24:48 PM »
You might remember that all this came about following embarrassing local revelations that all over Canada, citizens were already protected from costs like this.

Catastrophic drug plans everywhere else meant that people didn't have to spend more than around 5% of their net incomes.

So someone keeping $70k of a salary of $100k would be restricted to paying $3500 or $291.

Someone earning $50k gross would be asked for no more than $2k or $166 a month.

Someone on minimum wage would only be paying $76.

It varied across Canada but even in PEI a minimum wager doesn't pay more than $45.

So NBs new plan looks generous if you have very high medical costs, but if you had those high costs every where outside of NB you weren't paying them anyway!! >:(


....to be continued.....
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Offline BristolUK

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Re: Welcome to the Drug Plan
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2014, 08:30:14 PM »
Just taking a break for now but I'll just say that while visiting a hospital appointment last week, a video was playing in the waiting area and there was a reminder about how important it was to take prescribed meds.

There was a figure given out about how much money Canada wastes (spends) on avoidable hospital admissions.

Mind boggling.    ???
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Offline BristolUK

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Re: Welcome to the Drug Plan
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2014, 08:35:28 PM »
Perhaps the biggest change will be that all those hoops will be removed, with a simple declaration of income, checked through Revenue Canada, as with other programs.

No more to-ing and fro-ing all over town anymore.

By the way, it appears I may have spoken too soon.  :(
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Offline BristolUK

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Re: Welcome to the Drug Plan
« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2014, 09:49:27 PM »
Quote from: BristolUK
Having problems in that respect - assuming you mean the health card.  :(
Quote from: willie c wuddle
There are a lot of good people who work there. Be patient, they are just doing their jobs.
Quote from: BristolUK
Sadly it's the job that's the problem. The system and the policies are ridiculous. I know the people are fine.

So...after 5 years of being eligible for coverage, I have been told I am no longer eligible.
Nothing has changed at our end. Actually worse off given debts of a few thousand bucks that we didn't have previously.

What has changed though, is that we were previously assessed as a married couple - which we are - but now we've been assessed separately,although she remains eligible.

They have also STRICTLY applied NB's infamous household income policy and have ruled that every single cent earned by my stepdaughter (with her massively reduced and non guaranteed hours) and every single cent of my mother-in-law's GIS level income is to be made available for my medical needs.

Can you believe that?

My 75 year old mother in law has to fund my medical needs. My mother in law with an income that qualifies her for her own low income support.

Well done New Brunswick.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2014, 09:53:58 PM by BristolUK »
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Offline BristolUK

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Re: Welcome to the Drug Plan
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2014, 09:52:54 PM »
And why have they done this?

To force me in the direction of the new NB plan and boost the numbers signing up so they can claim how popular it is.
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Offline Paladin (Site Admin)

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Re: Welcome to the Drug Plan
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2014, 08:14:04 PM »
Great Posts Briss.

I'm sure many can use info on this.

I would be one of those .


Offline BristolUK

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Re: Welcome to the Drug Plan
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2014, 10:29:32 AM »
No news from the MLA yet.  :(

Next stop, the media.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2014, 10:31:27 AM by BristolUK »
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Offline BristolUK

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Re: Welcome to the Drug Plan
« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2014, 11:23:43 AM »
Of course, they have suggested the premiums will not be as high next year, when it becomes mandatory. The idea is that more people paying, the cheaper it becomes.



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Offline BristolUK

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Re: Welcome to the Drug Plan
« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2014, 10:43:54 AM »
So let's recap.

Three sets of pills and two insulins. Five drugs.

2013-14 Cost to me on the existing NB program NIL premium, Testing and shooting = NIL. 5 x $4 co-pay = $20 per month. Everything covered. All conditions kept under control. Stable.

Phase one of the new plan introduced cancels existing coverage.

Phase one (not enrolled) now costs $45 for the pills and $200 insulin and $150 min to shoot. $395 all in. Or, just the pills for $45.

Massive incentive not to spend the $350 on insulin and injecting even if I had the money.

Phase one (enrolled) Premium $67 (not $62 as originally mentioned) plus $15 for pills and $60 for insulin.  $142

Wait...little matter of the injecting/testing. The insulin is useless without it. So another $150. New total $292.

So what was originally $20 a month all in, becomes $395 (or $45 with uncontrolled diabetes) or by enrolling I can do it all for $292 (or $77 with uncontrolled diabetes)

Ridiculous.

If I want to control my diabetes - which the province should also want to do so it avoids far greater costs from hospitalisations - somewhere I have to find an extra $272 a month that I don't have, hence my eligibility for the original scheme in the first place.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2014, 10:45:46 AM by BristolUK »
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Offline BristolUK

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Re: Welcome to the Drug Plan
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2014, 10:54:32 AM »
Or put another way the new system costs me -  on a low income - $272 x 12 = $3264 more, a year than before it came in.

For people on $50k and up they will likely have employee coverage. But if they don't, their additional cost is a mere $1400 to $2000.

So that's someone at the bottom end of the income scale paying an extra $3264 while those at the top pay less than $2000 extra.

There's something wrong with this isn't there?
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