February 1, 2016 7:27 pm

2,000 more seniors will pay a premium under new N.S. pharmacare program

WATCH ABOVE: Marieke Walsh spoke with one senior couple who will have to start paying for Pharmacare premiums as part of the changes to the program.


More seniors will be paying premiums for the seniors’ pharmacare program than originally announced by the Nova Scotia government.

Fourteen-thousand seniors who receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) and were previously exempt from paying premiums will now have to pay them effective April 1, 2016.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia seniors’ advisory group will meet to discuss pharmacare changes

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The government’s announcement in January said 12,000 seniors who previously paid a premium would no longer have to. However, it didn’t mention the 14,000 seniors on GIS, who will now have to start paying a premium (ranging from $1 to $482).

“Its like giving with one hand and taking with the other,” Dorothy Kitchen, who receives GIS, said.

The federal government’s GIS program is for “low-income” seniors, but the province said it wasn’t fair to automatically exempt the seniors on GIS from paying premiums because of how GIS is calculated.

READ MORE: No ‘secrecy’ in costs of pharmacare changes, but no details yet either

“If you look at the GIS eligibility – low income, it’s a relative term, it can mean different things,” said Marina Keeping, manager of pharmacare administration. “You could have had two families with the exact same income but one gets GIS and one doesn’t.”

However, the NDP’s Maureen MacDonald says that’s a nonstarter.

“The government told us they’re doing this to give a break to low income seniors when in fact they’re taking more money from low income seniors.”

© 2016 Shaw Media

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