Travellers leaving Saskatchewan for an extended period are now able to get up to six months of prescription drugs processed online through the Saskatchewan Drug Plan, saving them upfront out-of-pocket costs and the inconvenience of seeking reimbursement afterwards.
“This is another example of our government listening to patients, and putting the patient first,” Health Minister Dustin Duncan said. “This is something that travellers have been asking for, and we are pleased that new online processes at pharmacies now allow this to happen. It has also resulted in efficiencies at the Ministry of Health.”
The change impacts about 2,000 people annually, primarily retirees who travel to warmer climates during the winter months.
The province-wide implementation builds on a pilot program initiated with select pharmacies in August to better manage exceptional manual paper claims. The enhanced policy and computer systems means, based on approval, pharmacists may bill up to six months of prescriptions through the Drug Plan computer system, compared to three months previously.
Pharmacists are responsible for requesting the approval from the Drug Plan, and approval will depend on an individual’s coverage.
“We certainly know patients who have asked for this, and are happy to now be able to provide this service to them,” Lakeshore Pharmacy pharmacist/manager Brian Gray said. “Our pharmacy enjoyed collaborating with the ministry through the pilot phase, and we are very pleased with the new online process without the additional paperwork and the time required. This is much smoother and it allows us to better meet our patients’ health care needs.”
“This is excellent news for snowbirds and other travellers,” Canadian Snowbird Association president Bob Slack said. “It means less up-front expense and less hassle. We are pleased the Government of Saskatchewan has been responsive to our request for this change.”
The six-month supply will be captured on the Pharmaceutical Information Program (PIP) without delay compared to the manual submission process, ensuring a complete and accurate drug profile.
For more information, contact:
Michael MacKenzie, Executive Director
Canadian Snowbird Association