Nov 282012

Teachers benefit from the Industrial Alliance medical plan which includes drug coverage. Since prescription drugs are reimbursed at 80% of their cost, members are well covered. However, you may not have considered that the cost of medication varies greatly within the province.

In a recent new story by Radio-Canada, it was explained that Quebecers can expect to pay as much as $20 difference for the same prescription from one pharmacy to the next. Since QPAT manages the teachers’ Industrial Alliance plan, it is this plan that must pay for these higher costs. Should teachers be concerned?

Unlike the private sector, our employer does not contribute to the teachers’ insurance plan. Therefore, all costs must be borne by its members. A single prescription will usually not cost the teacher significantly more money since he or she only has to pay 20% of the initial cost; however, if market costs increase, then all the members are affected since the plan must charge more in premiums. The math is simple: as costs increase, so do premiums.

So what can teachers do to keep their premiums low? Here are two suggestions:

  1. Buy generic drugs when available.
  2. Shop around. Look for the lowest prices.

Without question, the variation in drug costs throughout the province is a larger, provincial issue. However, by exercising the aforementioned suggestions, our insurance plan will benefit from our collective efforts.

(And it goes without saying that the best medicine is to avoid the problem entirely. A healthy teacher is a happy teacher so please look after your health.)