Nova Scotia Pharmacare

Posted 06 Jun 2014 by Melissa Allan


I often get approached by clients and friends regarding health insurance in retirement and if people should consider taking out a private health & dental plan versus Pharmacare. My answer is never the same, as it really depends on the individual I’m speaking with and their current health situation. I thought it would be good to summarize each option in this article.

Pharmacare is a provincial drug insurance plan to assist seniors with the cost of their prescription drugs. The program runs from April 1st—March 31st each year and seniors are eligible to join this plan at age 65. A package will get mailed out to you a couple of months prior to your 65th birthday and you have 90 days to enroll from your date of eligibility.

The annual enrollment fee for 2014 is $424.00. This enrollment fee is paid each year however if you are receiving the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) the enrollment fee is waived. In addition, you have to pay a co-payment fee at your pharmacy up to a maximum of $382 for the year. After this point, prescription drugs are then covered at 100%.

You do have the option to pay your co-payment up front for the year however if you don’t incur $382 in prescriptions this amount is not refundable so I would only recommend pre-paying this amount if you are guaranteed to have over that in regular prescription drugs. Keep in mind, only prescription drugs that are approved by this program will be paid. You may have to pay more than the $382 co-payment each year if:

  • You want the brand name drug and the generic name is available at a cheaper cost
  • The drug you require costs more than the maximum approved cost under the program as costs do vary from pharmacy to pharmacy
  • Your prescription drug is not covered by the Senior’s Pharmacare program.

Fore more information please refer to: http://www.gov.ns.ca/health/Pharmacare/seniors_pharmacare/seniors_pharmacare.asp