Province Helping Ontario Families Stay Healthy with Free Prescription Medication for Everyone Age 24 and Under
Ontario is helping families afford the care they need to stay healthy by making prescription medications free for everyone age 24 and under.
Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, met with young mothers at Massey Centre in Toronto today, where he launched OHIP+: Children and Youth Pharmacare. In just under two weeks, children and youth will be able to get their medications at no cost by simply showing their Ontario health card number and a prescription at a pharmacy. Coverage will be automatic, with no upfront costs.
Providing medication at no cost for children and youth will make a difference in the lives of Ontario families, including many vulnerable groups such as low-income families, large families, single parents with children, students, young people in the workforce, and unemployed and underemployed young people.
Starting January 1, more than 4,400 medications will be covered, such as asthma inhalers, drugs to treat depression, anxiety, epilepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, antibiotics, EpiPens (epinephrine auto-injectors), insulin, diabetes test strips, oral contraceptives, medications to treat some childhood cancers and other rare conditions, and many others.
Ontario is the first province to provide prescription medication coverage at no cost for children and youth age 24 years and under, which will make a real difference in the lives of people across the province.
Making it more affordable for families and young people to get the medications they need is part of Ontario’s plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.
- According to a recent report by the Conference Board of Canada, the number of people in Ontario who are not currently eligible for drug coverage under a public or private insurance plan will drop from 13.2 per cent to four per cent when OHIP+ becomes available on January 1st – which means an estimated 1.2 million people without coverage will benefit.
- Ontario’s public drug programs are 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.
- OHIP+ will give young people access to more than 4,400 drug products reimbursed under the Ontario Drug Benefit program, including some of the most commonly used medications and those available through the Exceptional Access Program, if an individual qualifies, at no cost.
“We believe all families in Ontario deserve the same access to medication they need to protect the health and lives of their children. By making over 4,400 medications available to Ontarians 24 and under at no cost, we are helping all children and youth, regardless of income, get the care they need.” — Dr. Eric Hoskins , Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
“No families in Ontario should have to choose between paying for rent or affording their child’s medication. By covering the cost of more than 4,400 prescriptions, Ontario is allowing families to focus on what matters most — letting kids be kids, and helping young people reach their full potential.” — Michael Coteau, Minister of Children and Youth Services
“We congratulate the government’s commitment to publicly funded pharmacare for families with children 24 years and younger. This is a positive step forward in delivering comprehensive universal health care. Massey Centre knows that the vulnerable pregnant and parenting adolescent 13-21 year-olds that we serve will benefit from the OHIP + program, as the expense for medications will be eliminated as one less obstacle to optimal health.” — Jennifer Dockery, Board President, Massey Centre