The Ontario government announced plans to expand the OHIP+ program this week during the unveiling of the provincial budget. Beginning summer of 2019 individuals 65 or older will no longer be required to pay a deductible or co-payment for more than 4,400 prescription drugs such as medications for cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes and asthma.
“For employers with employees 65 or older this will reduce benefit spend, but not as significantly as with the initial introduction of OHIP+ for younger employees or those with children where the full cost of prescription drugs is covered,” Accompass Vice President Tiina Liivet said.
Another feature of the budget proposed to begin in the summer of 2019 is a new drug and dental program for those without extended health coverage, covering up to 80 per cent of eligible prescription drug and dental expenses each year, to a maximum of $400 for a single person, $600 per couple and $700 for a family of four with two children.
“Although this is a helpful benefit to those who have no access to coverage, the cost of health and dental is generally much higher than the proposed maximum,” said Liivet.
“I don’t see this as comparable to most private plans.”
Additionally, the Ontario government will now retroactively apply the maximum guaranteed payment a retiree can get from the province's Pension Benefits Guarantee Fund, from $1,000 a month to $1,500 a month as announced in 2017.
“This retroactive move, as Finance Minister, Charles Sousa, stated means that Sears employees can also benefit,” said Mohamed Karmali, Accompass Consultant.
In addition to these proposed benefits the Ontario government also introduced free child care for pre-school children beginning in 2020, an investment of more than $17 billion in mental health and addictions services over the next four years and a pledge to tackling the gender wage gap among other plans to help individuals within Ontario.
For more details review the 2018 Ontario Budget here.