Issue: Spring 2024

As our population ages, ensuring adequate prescription drug coverage for seniors becomes increasingly vital. The Government of New Brunswick has implemented various prescription drug coverage plans tailored to meet the healthcare needs of seniors. Specifically, the programs are designed to offer affordable and accessible drug coverage for seniors in the region.

To qualify for prescription drug coverage in New Brunswick, seniors must meet specific criteria. Individuals must be 65 years of age or older, be permanent residents of New Brunswick, possess a valid New Brunswick Medicare card, and should not have prescription drug coverage from another plan.

As seniors approach their 65th birthday, the New Brunswick government takes a proactive step by mailing an application package 60 days before this milestone. This package includes detailed information on the eligibility criteria of the prescription drug coverage plans along with the corresponding application forms. This approach aims to facilitate a smoother transition for seniors, ensuring they are well-informed about the available options and simplifying the application process.

In New Brunswick, seniors have access to three distinct prescription drug coverage programs tailored to their specific needs. The New Brunswick Prescription Drug Program is designed for seniors receiving the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) from Employment and Social Development Canada. This program comes with no annual premium, and seniors are required to pay a $9.05 co-pay per prescription, with an annual ceiling capped at $500 per person.

The New Brunswick Drug Plan is available for uninsured residents, including seniors. The cost structure involves income-dependent premiums and co-payments, with a 30% co-payment per prescription, up to a maximum amount.

For uninsured New Brunswickers aged 65 or older, the Medavie Blue Cross Senior’s Prescription Drug Program provides coverage. This program includes a monthly premium of $140 and a $15 co-pay per prescription. To be eligible, individuals must apply within 60 days after turning 65, within 60 days after canceling a previous prescription drug plan, or within 60 days after gaining eligibility for NB Medicare as a new resident. Late applications, beyond the 60-day limit require a medical questionnaire and seniors may or may not be accepted based on their medical history.

The government of New Brunswick is committed to ensuring seniors have access to affordable and comprehensive prescription drug coverage. By understanding the eligibility criteria and nuances of each plan, seniors can make informed decisions about their healthcare needs. For further assistance and information, please visit the New Brunswick Drug Plans for Seniors webpage on the Government of New Brunswick website.

Minha Haque, Health Promotion and Advocacy Specialist