March 27, 2012
The Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB) program helps seniors with the cost of their prescription drugs. All seniors are eligible for the ODB regardless of their income level. This means that someone with an annual income of $300,000 currently gets the same benefit as someone with an income of $30,000 per year.
The 2012 Budget announces changes to ensure the program is effective, properly administered and provides the most help to those in the greatest need. The fairness of the program will be improved by asking the highest-income seniors to pay more of their own prescription drug costs.
Starting August 2014, high-income seniors will pay a new income-tested deductible. The change will affect only about five per cent of senior ODB recipients — those seniors with the highest incomes and greatest ability to pay their own drug costs.
|Paying the Same||92|
|Net Income ($)||16,000||40,000||100,000||120,000||150,000||200,000|
|As % of income||0.00%||0.25%||0.10%||0.58%||1.07%||1.55%|
|Net Income ($)||24,000||60,000||160,000||200,000||250,000||300,000|
|As % of income||0.00%||0.33%||0.13%||0.70%||1.16%||1.47%|
These changes will not increase drug costs for seniors with net incomes below the $100,000 or $160,000 thresholds who already get drug benefits:
There are about 1.9 million seniors living in Ontario. Under this change, about 75,000 seniors with net incomes over $100,000 for singles and $160,000 for couples will pay an average of $665 a year more towards their prescription drug costs.
These changes will build on the reforms the government has made to the Ontario drug system since 2006 to improve the value for money that Ontarians pay for prescription drugs. These changes include reducing the prices of most generic drugs to 25 per cent of the cost of the comparable brand-name products. These reforms are saving seniors money on their prescriptions. By 2011–12, the savings in the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care's drug programs were about $500 million per year. An additional $100 million in savings were achieved in 2011–12.
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Aly Vitunski, Minister′s Office, 416-325-9819
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