Fair PharmaCare Plan
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Fair PharmaCare Registration
Fair PharmaCare Coverage
We encourage all British Columbians to register for Fair PharmaCare.
If you are a B.C. resident and enrolled with the Medical Services Plan (MSP), register your family to receive your maximum assistance under Fair PharmaCare.
Your family includes you, your spouse and any dependent children whose Medical Services Plan (MSP) coverage is on the same contract as you or your spouse.
If you or your spouse was born in 1939 or earlier, you may qualify for enhanced Fair PharmaCare assistance.
To be eligible for Fair PharmaCare you must:
When you enrol in MSP, you will receive a BC Services Card with a lifetime Personal Health Number (PHN), which allows you to access publicly funded health services in British Columbia.
If you or your spouse does not meet the eligibility requirements, the eligible members of your family can still register. If either you or your spouse does not have a Personal Health Number (the number found on your CareCard or BC Services Card), you will need to register by phone.
The start date of your Fair PharmaCare coverage depends on your MSP coverage, the date you registered, and whether we are able to verify your income. The table below provides information for your situation.
To register your family with Fair PharmaCare, you will need:
For all family members:
For you and your spouse:
UCCB payments and RDSP income are deducted from your net income when calculating your level of Fair PharmaCare coverage.
Have you already registered? You do not need to register again or in the future.After you have registered, if you need to update or change your coverage or reinstate your coverage, contact Health Insurance BC.
Have you returned your signed consent form?
PharmaCare needs your authorization to verify your income with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and confirm your level of Fair PharmaCare assistance.
Lost your consent form? You can request a replacement consent form online. Return the form to us as soon as possible to ensure your temporary coverage continues.
How to Register
When you register online or by telephone, your temporary assistance starts the same day, based on the income information you provide.
PharmaCare will then send you a consent form.
To complete your registration and ensure your temporary coverage does not lapse, sign and return the consent form to Health Insurance BC within 30 days. This important step allows us to confirm your income with the Canada Revenue Agency to make sure you receive the maximum assistance available to you.
Online: Visit our Fair PharmaCare registration website. Your online registration is processed immediately.
By Phone: Contact Health Insurance BC and speak with a customer service representative. Your registration will be processed immediately.
When we have verified your net income with the Canada Revenue Agency, we will send you a letter confirming your level of assistance. It may take up to 90 days for us to confirm your income information and send your confirmation letter.
Fair PharmaCare coverage is income-based. Families with lower incomes receive more assistance than families with higher incomes.
How your level of coverage is calculated
PharmaCare uses the net income from your and your spouse's income tax returns to calculate your family's level of coverage. Net income equals the amount on Line 236 on your tax returns minus any amounts reported on Line 117 (Universal Child Care Benefit payments) and Line 125 (income from a Registered Disability Savings Plan).
If your spouse has not filed a separate tax return, PharmaCare may include the Married Amount from Line 303 of your return. They may also refer to GST Credit Application on your Income Tax Return to calculate your spouse's income.
When your level of coverage is calculated
PharmaCare uses income tax data from two years ago to calculate Fair PharmaCare coverage your family receives. For example, your 2010 coverage will be calculated using your 2008 tax return.
PharmaCare calculates your level of coverage:
Your family pays your full prescription costs until you reach a level known as your deductible. Once you reach your deductible, PharmaCare begins assisting you with your eligible costs for the rest of the year.
British Columbians with the lowest incomes do not need to meet a deductible and receive immediate assistance.
PharmaCare will pay 70% of your family's eligible costs for the rest of the year after you reach your deductible and until you reach your family maximum (described below).
If you or your spouse was born in 1939 or earlier, PharmaCare will pay 75% of your eligible costs for the rest of the year, after you reach your deductible.
Your family maximum
To ensure your annual drug costs do not exceed your ability to pay, your family will also be assigned a family maximum. If you reach your family maximum, PharmaCare covers 100% of your eligible drug costs for the rest of the year.
PharmaCare sets a maximum cost that it will recognize for eligible prescription drugs and medical supplies and for a dispensing fee. If there is a difference between this amount and the amount charged by a pharmacy, you will be responsible for the difference. If an item is not a benefit of PharmaCare, you will be responsible for the full cost. Only eligible costs count towards your deductible and family maximum.
You can get an estimate of your level of coverage under the plan using our online calculator.
You can also select one of the links below for more information on Fair PharmaCare assistance levels.
Regular Fair PharmaCare Assistance (PDF 33K)
Assistance for those born in or before 1939 (PDF 100K)
The following tables also allow you to estimate your deductible and your family maximum. Once your family's net income has been verified by the Canada Revenue Agency, PharmaCare will send you written confirmation of your level of assistance.
If you or your spouse were born in 1939 or earlier, you will receive the following enhanced Fair PharmaCare assistance:
Fair PharmaCare offers access to increased assistance if:
We also offer a Monthly Deductible Payment Option if you have a deductible and you find it difficult to pay your prescription costs early in the year.
It is important that you keep your family information up to date. Your family membership also affects your level of coverage. This is because
Contact Health Insurance BC as soon as possible after
* In these cases, you may be eligible for increased assistance. Please see Fair PharmaCare Income Reviews and Family Changes for more information.
In some circumstances, your income-based Fair PharmaCare coverage may end. If you become eligible for coverage again, you can ask to have your coverage reinstated.
For instance, your coverage may have ended because:
In each case, coverage can be reinstated if you take the steps needed. This might mean filing a tax return, re-enrolling with the B.C. Medical Services Plan or providing your consent for PharmaCare to check your income with the Canada Revenue Agency. Contact Health Insurance BC to reinstate coverage.
In addition to the Fair PharmaCare plan, PharmaCare offers nine plans for specific patient groups and/or services.
If you are covered under another PharmaCare plan, you may still need to register for Fair PharmaCare for coverage of drugs not included in the specialty plans.
Need more information?
For more information see:
If you have any additional questions, contact Health Insurance BC.