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Ann Marie Stuart

How familiar are you with the Ontario Drug Benefit Program? While hospital casual workers should, in theory, be familiar with the program, many are not. If you’re looking for more information on how prescription drugs have become even more affordable in Canada, you’ve come to the right place.

Are you a part-time or casual hospital employee in need of health care  benefits? Request a quote today!


Depending on your medical history, you may not think you need to know about this program, but that’s a big mistake. It’s important for hospital casual workers to know what’s available to them and their patients. It’s important to stay informed and start preparing for the future now.


If you’re interested in learning more, here’s everything you need to know about the Ontario Drug Benefit Program.


What is it?


In order for Ontarians to live a happier and healthier life, the Ontario Drug Benefit Program makes it easier for those who require more medications than the average Canadian to afford prescription drugs. This program is paid for by the Ontario government and covers over 4,000 drugs. The types of medications available include,

  • Epipens and other allergy shots;
  • Products used to monitor and test for diabetes;
  • Specific over-the-counter drugs;
  • Specific nutritional products;
  • HIV/AIDS treatment drugs; and
  • Palliative care drugs.


How Does It Differ from the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP)?


While both programs relate to your health, each performs a very separate function from the other. The Ontario Drug Benefit Program is specifically designed to cover prescription drugs for those who cannot afford or typically require more medication than the average Canadian. This program covers prescription drugs, and only prescription drugs. The Ontario Health Insurance Plan is instead a program which covers a variety of emergency and basic medical services.


Do You Qualify?


The first step to determine whether you are eligible for the Ontario Drug Benefit Program is your place of residence—this program is only available for residents of Ontario. Anyone over the age of 65 can qualify for this program. Some people may have early eligibility if they fall under and of the following categories:

  • currently residing in a long-term or special care home;
  • enrolled in Home Care;
  • enrolled in Ontario Works;
  • enrolled in the Ontario Disability Support Program; or
  • enrolled in the Trillium Drug Program.


Do You Still Need Additional Coverage?


Yes, you certainly do! While hospital casual workers are eligible for this program when they turn 65 or meet one of the other requirements, if you don’t yet qualify for the program you’ll need to make sure your prescription drugs needs are covered until you do.


Additionally, this program only covers prescription drugs and nothing else. If hospital casual workers are over the age of 65 or meet any of the other program qualifications, they’ll need additional coverage for all other medical expenses that are not covered under OHIP or related to prescription drugs. This can include life insurance, dental, hospital accommodation, and more.


This program also does not cover all prescription drugs you may need. If you’re covered under the Ontario Drug Benefit Program but require a medication that is not one of the 4,000 covered, this will be an out-of-pocket expense. It is much easier to acquire additional prescription drug coverage so that you’re not out of luck if an emergency happens and you require prescription drugs that are not covered—it’s better to be safe than sorry.


If you’re a current professional in the health care field, it’s never too early to start looking for additional prescription drug coverage. Group benefits can be a great option for you to cover your prescription drug needs, and many other additional medical expenses you may require along the way. Start planning for your future today.



Ann Marie Stuart

Ann Marie is an employee benefits professional with over 25 years of experience helping clients understand and leverage their benefits plan in groups across Canada. She has built her expertise with some of the largest employee benefit plan providers and multi-employee benefit trusts in Canada. Getting to know her clients is one of the most enjoyable aspects of her work and helping them navigate the complex nature of employee benefits is one of the most rewarding. Ann Marie loves to hunt for antique and vintage treasures everywhere she goes. She loves the beach and spends as much time as possible with family and friends.
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