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Livio - what's happened to private drug expenditures over the same time period?

Ontario's drug benefit program covers all people over 65 - so expenditures under the drug program will obviously rise as the population ages. An income tested program might be less affected by demographic change.

There's also that whole BC life-style thing - as you and I sit around and type in a sedentary fashion, our West Coast cousins are probably going for vigorous cycle rides in the rain.

Well Frances, real per capita private drug spending has gone up also but what is interesting is that there is clustering into high and low spenders. BC, Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan are together at the bottom while the other provinces spend more. There is definitely an east-west divide. Easterners seem to like to spend more on medication when it comes to private spending. I will definitely put the graphs together for another post later on.

Not "seem to like" Livio, have to.

Drugs were exempted from the Canada Health Act and are in no way equal across the country. Actually the way we handle prescription drug costs in this country is a policy nightmare.

New Brunswick does not have a government-run prescription drug plan, the equivalent of Ontario Drug Benefits, for seniors. Nova Scotia and Newfoundland didn't until the last few years either. What NB has is a private plan offered to seniors by Medavie Blue Cross which is community-rated (no medical) for 60 days after you turn 65. If you move back to NB at 66 with health problems, you're out of luck. The NB government sponsors the Blue Cross plan.

Canadian Blue Cross plans are all non-profit. Alberta Blue Cross runs a community-rated plan for non-insured residents before the government catastrophic plan kicks in. The Alberta government sponsors it.

Quebec has the RAMQ and a mandate on all insurers to cover all Quebec residents. It's the only province that actually approaches true universal drug coverage. Just a few tweaks needed.

Private community-rated prescription drug coverage is no longer available in Ontario in any meaningful amount. You can get $500 on the market, $1,200 on some special plans. Otherwise individual health plans are all medically underwritten. No sick people need apply.

Ontario Blue Cross was sold to Liberty Mutual in 1995 and has since morphed into the Flexcare division of Manulife, they of oh so many TV ads. Ontario Blue Cross as a company was refounded and is part of Quebec Blue Cross, but neither offer group coverage, which is done in those provinces by Medavie. Ontario/Quebec Blue Cross is moving away from drug coverage and emphasizes disability and long-term care insurance more.

Prescription Drug coverage is the health care systems unloved step-child.

I thought this was going to be a good thread but it seems to have been smothered in the cradle.

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