POLITICS
06/30/2018 15:44 EDT | Updated 06/30/2018 16:12 EDT

Ontario Will No Longer Offer Free Prescriptions To Kids With Private Coverage

New provincial health minister Christine Elliott announced the change on Saturday.

The Ontario Ministry of Health in Kingston, Ont.
Lars Hagberg / The Canadian Press
The Ontario Ministry of Health in Kingston, Ont.

TORONTO — Ontario's government will no longer offer free prescriptions to kids and young adults with private coverage, the province's new health minister announced Saturday.

In a news release issued a day after the Progressive Conservative government was sworn in, Christine Elliott said the move follows through on Premier Doug Ford's campaign promise to find cost-cutting measures that don't slash jobs.

"Premier Ford promised the people he would find efficiencies without compromising service or jobs, and we are delivering,'' she said.

Mark Blinch / The Canadian Press
Health Minister Christine Elliott speaks during a swearing in ceremony at Queen's Park in Toronto on June 29.

Children and youth who are not covered by private benefits will continue to receive their eligible prescriptions for free, the news release said, while those covered by private plans will bill those insurers first and the government second.

The release does not specify when the new system comes into effect, and representatives for Elliott and Ford did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

But Elliott said she looks forward to "working with insurance groups to ensure a smooth transition to this updated system.''

Mark Blinch / The Canadian Press
Cabinet ministers Victor Fedeli and Christine Elliott are present at Doug Ford's swearing in ceremony on June 29.

The announcement comes a day after Elliott was sworn in as minister of health and long-term care as part of the new Progressive Conservative cabinet.

OHIP+, enacted by the previous Liberal government just last year, offered free prescription medication for Ontarians under the age of 25.

It covered the 4,400-plus drugs included in the Ontario Drug Benefit Program, which is used by seniors and those on social assistance.

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