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August 13, 2014
New Brunswick unveils new mandatory drug plan

The province of New Brunswick has introduced legislation to require all of that province’s residents to have access to a drug plan.

Similar to Quebec’s mandatory drug law, the New Brunswick Drug Plan (NBDP), will provide drug coverage to the province’s residents who don’t have insurance through their employers.  It will also force employers with drug plans to raise their drug benefits to match the government plan.

The plan, which will be administered by Medavie Blue Cross on behalf of the provincial government, will cover drugs listed on the New Brunswick Prescription Drug Program formulary. There will be no deductible, and coverage cannot be denied because of age, gender or pre-existing medical conditions.

Highlights of the new plan include the following:

  • coverage must be provided for all drugs covered by the NBDP formulary;
  • coverage must be available to all members of a family unit;
  • the plan will have no annual or lifetime maximums or caps on coverage;
  • co-pays for plan members must not exceed $30 per prescription or $2,000 per year for drugs listed in the provincial formulary.

The new plan will become effective on April 1, 2015.  

Premiums will be based on income and range from $800 to $2,000 per person per year.

Enrolment will occur in two stages, with voluntary enrolment for residents without drug coverage or with coverage less than the NBDP standard occurring between May 1, 2014 and March 31, 2015.  

Mandatory enrolment for all residents will begin on April 1, 2015.  At that time, all private drug plans offered by employers will be required to match the coverage offered by the provincial program.  Anyone with an employer plan will no longer be allowed to join the government plan.  As well, those who do not have drug coverage through an employer will be required to join the provincial plan.

Also, effective June 12, 2014, plan sponsors are prohibited from amending or cancelling their existing drug coverage.

More information on the NBDP can be found at www.gnb.ca/drugplan.

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