Alberta’s Opposition NDP says changes to drug plan benefits affecting 60,000 people are not only heartless but could lead to higher health spending in the long run.
NDP Leader Rachel Notley is urging the province to rethink its plan to end benefits for spouses and dependents of seniors starting March 1 under the Seniors Drug Benefit Program.
Right now, Albertans aged 65 or older and their spouses and dependents, regardless of age, get help covering costs of prescription drugs.
Alberta says ending the subsidy for spouses and dependents will save $36 million a year on the $600-million program. It also notes that no other province offers subsidies for spouses and dependents of seniors.
But Notley says without the coverage, low-income seniors will have to do without or try to sign up for other group coverage despite being on tight, fixed incomes.
She says if they don’t get the prescription drugs they need, they will end up hospitalized or in long-term care – and that will cost the province more.