Saskatchewan

Drug fee for children, seniors being boosted $5 per prescription

Lower-income seniors and families with children will have to pay more for their prescription drugs this year.

Change will eventually save Saskatchewan $9M annually, government says

The cap on prescription costs under the seniors' and children's drug plans is rising to $25 per prescription from $20. (iStock)

Lower-income seniors and families with children will have to pay more for their prescription drugs this year.

The children's and seniors' drug plan is boosting costs by $5 per prescription, resulting in a $25 per prescription maximum.

The change, which takes effect today, will save the government $6.75 million in the 2016-2017 fiscal year that began April 1.

In future years, the savings will be $9 million annually, the government says.

The increases are expected to cost 66,000 families an average of $20 per year, and 120,000 seniors about $80 annually.

It's one of the "difficult but necessary" decisions the government says it's making this year to ensure the sustainability of services.

Finance Minister Kevin Doherty released his first provincial budget on Wednesday, and unlike last year, the plan calls for a big deficit: $434 million.

It's the second year in a row the province has cut money to the seniors' drug plan. Last year, it lowered the income threshold from $80,000 to about $66,000. That change made about 6,000 seniors ineligible for the subsidy.

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