Free Prescription Medications for Everyone 24 and Under
College and University Students Among Those Who Will Benefit from the New OHIP+
Premier Kathleen Wynne was at Western University in London today to discuss with students how Ontario's new OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare Program will make life more affordable for them and their families.
As part of the 2017 Budget, Ontario announced that it is moving to make prescription medications free for all children and youth 24 years of age and younger, regardless of family income. Coverage will be automatic, with no upfront costs.
Beginning January 1, 2018, the proposed program will improve access to prescription medications for more than four million children and young people, including students and young professionals who may not have access to comprehensive drug benefit plans as they pursue postsecondary education or begin their careers.
Beyond the most common prescriptions, OHIP+ will give young people access to more than 4,400 drugs reimbursed under the Ontario Drug Benefit Program, including medications funded through the Exceptional Access Program, at no cost. Medications that will be covered include asthma inhalers, drugs to treat depression, anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, antibiotics and oral contraceptives.
Ontario's drug funding program is already one of the country's most generous, helping to pay for needed prescription medications for seniors, people with high drug costs and other vulnerable populations. Ontario is investing $465 million to expand coverage through OHIP+.
Making prescription medications more affordable for young people and families is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.
- Today, more than 3.9 million people benefit from prescription drug coverage under the Ontario Drug Benefit Program.
- Prescription medications for children and young people 24 and under will be covered through OHIP+ if they are listed on the Ontario Drug Benefit Formulary/Comparative Drug Index or if they are funded through the Exceptional Access Program.
- As part of the 2017 Budget, Ontario is investing an additional $7 billion in health care over the next three years.
- Ontario is also expanding funding for mental health and addiction initiatives, such as structured psychotherapy, supportive housing and youth services.
“In today’s changing economy, families can’t always count on a comprehensive drug benefit plan. As the first universal pharmacare program for children and youth in Canada, OHIP+ will ensure our health care system evolves with the times so that young people can afford the medications they need to stay healthy and thrive.”
“Ontario is the first Canadian province to introduce universal pharmacare for children and youth. Through OHIP+, we are making health care more affordable for families and providing access to prescription medications that will help millions of young people grow healthy and strong.”
“Our government’s new OHIP+ program is a historic change and a big step forward for our health care system. I’m proud that, under our Premier’s leadership, we’re making health care more affordable for Ontario families.”