Signing Up for BC Fair PharmaCare – It’s Still Important

Jul 14, 2014

BC PharmaCare is the part of our provincial health care plan that provides coverage to BC families, for eligible prescription drugs and certain medical supplies. However, the deductible, before the province will begin to cover eligible drugs and supplies, is a hefty $10,000 per person…unless you register for Fair PharmaCare.

Fair PharmaCare reduces the deductible from a flat $10,000 per person to a significantly lower income-based family deductible. This means that the province will pick up more of the eligible drug expenses, protecting employer-sponsored benefits plans. Lower claims under your employer-sponsored plan, means lower rates and premium.

Following its introduction in 2003, there was a lot of talk about registering for Fair PharmaCare. Insurance companies focused quite heavily on it to ensure that employer-sponsored benefits plans weren’t picking up drug costs that could be paid by the province. But the vigilance has since slipped a little, with some insurers now accepting simple confirmation from the employer that all employees have registered for Fair PharmaCare, and not all employers are diligent about confirming it with their employees.

According to the BC Government, most of us have registered, but new entrants into the workforce probably haven’t. We advise that employers ask all new employees to register for Fair PharmaCare and to provide proof of registration. This exercise should be done for all existing employees as well, and a good opportunity to do this is upon changing insurance providers.

If an employee’s PharmaCare deductible remains at $10,000 that means that the employer-sponsored benefits plan will pay for the first $10,000 of eligible drugs, versus a much lower amount if the employee registers for Fair PharmaCare. The more the employer-sponsored plan pays for, the higher the health premium for employers, and employees (if they contribute to the plan).

To register for Fair PharmaCare, phone Health Insurance BC at 604-683-7151/1-800-663-7100, or go online to www.health.gov.bc.ca/pharmacare and follow the instructions.

If registration is complete but the registration number is lost or forgotten, it can be obtained by entering the Personal Health Number (BC Care Card number) online at www.health.gov.bc.ca/pharmacare under ‘Fair PharmaCare Plan’ and ‘Check the Status of Your Registration’.

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