Quebec residents who are not insured by a private plan for prescription drugs are required to participate in RAMQ’s public prescription drug insurance plan. Since the beginning of the pandemic, many have lost their jobs and consequently their group insurance coverage, causing a shift towards the public drug plan.
Individuals covered by the public plan pay an annual contribution to Revenu Québec when filing the tax return. They also share in the cost of the drugs that they purchase at the pharmacy through a monthly deductible and a coinsurance (percentage of drug costs).
Difficult context brought on by COVID-19
The rates in effect for the public drug insurance plan are normally adjusted annually on July 1st.
This year, the expectation was that the annual premium be adjusted by 5% and the monthly deductible/coinsurance be adjusted by 7%.
However, given the difficult financial context of the population caused by COVID-19, the government announced a transitional adjustment. The premium increase will be limited to 1.9% until the end of the year.
Rates in effect from July 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020
- The maximum annual contribution increased from $ 636 to $ 648 per person (based on net family income)
- The monthly deductible of $ 21.75 remains unchanged
- The 37% coinsurance remains unchanged
- The maximum monthly contribution increased from $ 93.08 to $ 95.31 (for people aged 65 or over who receive between 1% and 93% of the Guaranteed Income Supplement, the maximum monthly contribution increased from 54.08 $ to $ 54.83)
The following people will continue to be insured free of charge:
- Children of people covered by the public plan (children under 18 or full-time students under 26)
- Persons with a functional impairment that occurred before the age of 18
- Holders of a valid claim slip
- Persons aged 65 and over who receive 94% to 100% of the Guaranteed Income Supplement.
RAMQ publishes “Rates Explained” to summarize the plan costs. This document is also often available in pharmacy.
No action required for employers
When purchasing prescription drugs, employees and their dependents covered by a group insurance plan must not pay an amount that exceeds the maximum contribution set by the RAMQ. As of July 1, 2020, the maximum annual contribution has increased from $ 1,117 to $ 1,144. The maximum contribution is managed by the insurers and does not require any intervention from the plan sponsors.