Province’s insurers call for fair pricing

by Paul Lucas26 Feb 2016
It shouldn’t matter whether you are covered by the public or private component of the general prescription drug insurance plan: you should always pay the same fees.

That’s the verdict of ACCAP-Quebec, part of the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association, which is calling for change after participating in a consultation on Bill 81.

“Currently, a person with private coverage pays on average 17 per cent more than someone covered by the public portion of the general plan for the same drug, bought at the same pharmacy,” said  ACCAP-Quebec’s President Lyne Duhaime. “This disparity is deeply unfair to the 60 per cent of Quebecers covered under private plans.”

One of the main issues causing the disparity relates to the professional charges from pharmacists which are in place for the dispensing of prescription drugs. These are currently higher for private plans, leaving consumers to pay more: something that Ms Duhaime believes is unfair.

“Since pharmacists’ fees are not regulated, fees charged to the private insurance industry can be twice, or even three times, higher than those billed to the public plan, for the exact same drug and service,” she said.

Due to this, ACCAP-Quebec has issued a call for both the industry and government to work together in order to create a recommendation that will limit the gap between fees charged by pharmacists for those with public and private coverage under the province’s prescription drug insurance plan.