SASK BUDGET

6,000 seniors removed from province's drug plan

A belt-tightening measure in the 2015-16 Saskatchewan budget will lower the income threshold for the seniors' drug plan, meaning thousands of seniors will no longer qualify for discounted prescriptions.

Income threshold lowered in the budget, saving province $3M

Six thousand seniors will become ineligible for discounted prescriptions because the income threshold for the senior's drug plan is being lowered. (Getty Images/Darren McCollester)

A belt-tightening measure in the 2015-16 Saskatchewan budget will lower the income threshold for the senior' drug plan.

It will mean 6,000 Saskatchewan seniors will no longer qualify for discounted prescriptions.

People eligible for the drug plan pay a maximum of $20 per prescription for drugs listed on the province's formulary.

Previously, the province used the federal threshold of $80,255 as the cutoff for the drug plan. Anyone with a taxable income in excess of that amount was not eligible for the program.

Now, the threshold will be lowered to $65,515.

The change is being met with criticism, even from seniors who say they will not be affected.

"It actually should be going the other way," Gloria Stanton said of the threshold. "We're losing money every time we go to the store, every time we got to the restaurant, every time we go shopping. Everything is costing that much more."

Stanton suggests a cutoff of around $90,000.

Another senior, Norma Friske, said she was looking for measures to assist the elderly in the budget.

"We're in the lower level and we need help," Friske said. "If they're going to lower anything how about raising a little
for the seniors? Because we're the ones who put this country on the map, that is a wonderful country. But the seniors need help." 

Finance Minister Ken Krawetz released the budget for the fiscal year that begins April 1 on Wednesday.

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