The New Brunswick Department of Health has updated its New Brunswick Prescription Drug Program (NBPDP) formulary. The formulary lists the drugs covered under this government sponsored drug plan for qualifying New Brunswickers.
Of importance to Retail Council of Canada (RCC) members is the likely prospect that this formulary will become the benchmark for the minimum amount of drug coverage that New Brunswick employers must provide to employees in private drug plans.
As noted in previous member notices, the Prescription and Catastrophic Drug Insurance Act is currently making its way through the New Brunswick legislature. Once passed, this Act will create the New Brunswick Drug Plan. The Plan will ensure that all New Brunswickers have prescription drug coverage and that all private drug plans offer at least comparable drug coverage to the New Brunswick Drug Plan.
The government is still considering options for employers to contribute to the Plan.
Member To Do:
It is suggested that if RCC members have not already done do, they should review how the upcoming New Brunswick Drug Plan and the updated formulary will affect their business.
RCC has received two information notices that the New Brunswick Department of Health sent to Group Plan Sponsors please see links below.
- Consider helping RCC in its advocacy by providing RCC with information on the projected costs of the pending New Brunswick Drug Plan for your business.
It would be helpful if members could provide RCC with information regarding any cost impacts that retailers may face based on the drugs listed in the formulary (see the link provided) and the explanatory notes provided by the government (see attached).
The New Brunswick government has suggested that if industry were asked to participate in funding the Plan, it would likely be through a payroll tax of 2.25% for all employees not covered under a comparable private plan. It would be greatly appreciated if RCC members could provide information to RCC of the approximate cost to their business of:
- paying a 2.25% payroll tax to enroll their New Brunswick employees in the New Brunswick Drug Plan program; and
- upgrading their current private drug plan coverage to include mandated changes surrounding part time employees, retired employees and family members while also covering drugs in the government’s formulary.
What RCC Did/Next Steps:
As noted in previous Member Notices, RCC has been successful to date in keeping the government from instituting a payroll tax to help fund the New Brunswick Drug Plan.
Given the government’s majority position in the legislature and the fact that the introduction of a drug plan for uninsured New Brunswickers was a campaign promise from 2010, the Prescription and Catastrophic Drug Insurance Act will be passed into law this spring. The government wants this program underway before the September 2014 provincial election.
Through recent conversations with officials in New Brunswick’s Department of Health, RCC has been told that by now, all RCC members with employees in New Brunswick should have been notified through their drug plan providers of the upcoming changes to drug plan coverage in the province. Obviously, these proposed changes will have a significant effect on many retailers.
Once the legislation has passed, retailers with a private employee drug plan will be obliged to:
- Ensure that the private plan’s coverage is comparable to the coverage of the government plan.
- Cover part time workers and employee’s family members
- Ensure that private plans do not deny coverage because of age, gender or pre-existing medical conditions.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact: Jim Cormier, Director (Atlantic) at: [email protected] or 902-422-4144.