Prescription drug program
Albertans are responsible for the cost of prescription drugs provided to them outside hospitals, auxiliary hospitals and nursing homes.
- Alberta Health strongly recommends that all Albertans obtain and maintain insurance coverage for prescription drugs.
Many Albertans have insurance coverage for prescription drugs provided through supplemental health plans sponsored by their employers. Others have coverage through publicly-funded plans offered by the provincial or federal governments.
A small number of Albertans are covered by individual plans offered by the health insurance industry, while a significant number of Albertans have no insurance coverage and pay for prescription drugs themselves. All Albertans have access to prescription drug benefits through the Alberta government sponsored drug program.
Publicly-funded prescription drug program
Supplementary health plans
Alberta Health contracts with Alberta Blue Cross to offer three supplementary health plans, for the following client groups:
- Non-Group Prescription Drug Coverage, available to Albertans under the age of 65 years and their dependants.
- Coverage for Seniors, for all Albertans 65 years of age and older and their dependants, and for recipients of the Alberta Widows' Pension and their dependants.
- Palliative Care Drug Coverage, for people diagnosed as being palliative* and receiving their treatments at home. *Palliative refers to medical care provided for the terminally ill, aimed at relieving symptoms.
Coverage for those in need
Alberta Human Services contracts with Alberta Blue Cross to offer health benefits, including prescription drugs for the following client groups:
- Income Support, for Albertans who don't have the resources to meet their basic needs.
- Alberta Adult Health Benefit, for Albertans who leave income support.
- Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH), for adults who have a permanent disability which severely affects their ability to earn a livelihood.
- Alberta Child Health Benefit, for children of low-income families.
Other mechanisms employed by Alberta Health to provide coverage for prescription drugs include:
- The Rare Diseases Drug Program helps Albertans with extremely rare genetic disorders to pay for their prescription drugs.
- Alberta Health Services provides all medically-required drugs used in hospitals, auxiliary hospitals and nursing homes, at no direct cost to the patient.
- Provincewide Services provides funding for select high cost drugs.
- Disease Control and Prevention provides prescription drugs for the treatment of tuberculosis and sexually transmitted disease, at no direct cost to the patient.
Alberta Health has implemented a number of drug program rules that maximize the appropriateness and cost-effectiveness of drug therapy.