The province will halt planned premium increases to the Seniors’ Pharmacare program and plans a full consultation with seniors across the province.
“Seniors told us these changes were too much, too soon – our actions had unintended consequences,” said Premier Stephen McNeil. “We have listened.
“We will consult with seniors from one end of the province to the other to ensure their thoughts are heard before we make changes in the future.”
Premier McNeil said premiums will not go up from last year. The maximum premium payment will remain at $424 a year per person.
One change will proceed: more low income seniors will have their premiums reduced or eliminated. This means about 12,000 people who paid a Pharmacare premium in 2015 will not pay one in 2016. Overall, every Nova Scotian who belongs to the program will pay the same premium or less.
Seniors on a guaranteed income supplement will continue to be exempt from paying premiums and the co-payment will remain at 30 per cent per prescription to a maximum of $382 per year. Today’s changes are expected to cost government about an additional $3 million a year.
“The government listened to our concerns at the February third meeting and we thank them for responding within a short time frame,” said Bill Berryman, chair of the Seniors’ Advisory Council, the Group of IX. “We look forward to continuing our dialogue during the upcoming consultation process and anticipate changes which will be agreeable to seniors in Nova Scotia.”
“We had put forward changes that were intended to bring more fairness and equity to the program,” said Premier McNeil. “It is clear that Nova Scotians want more consultation before significant changes are introduced to this program. We will deliver.”