Update: New Brunswick Drug Plan

In 2011, an advisory committee on Health Benefits was formed to develop recommendations to provide a prescription drug plan to all uninsured New Brunswickers as part of the province’s poverty reduction plan “Overcoming Poverty Together”.  In December 2012, the report of the advisory committee tabled in the legislature, advocating a comprehensive premium-based drug plan.  On December 10, 2013, The Prescription and Catastrophic Drug Insurance Act was introduced by the New Brunswick Minister of Health.  The New Brunswick Drug Plan will help New Brunswickers avoid catastrophic drug costs and ensure that prescription drug insurance is available to every New Brunswicker.  The Prescription and Catastrophic Drug Insurance Act, Bill 27, was given Royal Assent on March 26, 2014.

The plan will cover drugs listed on the New Brunswick Prescription Drug Program formulary.  There will be no differential rating, no deductible and coverage will not be denied because of age, gender or pre-existing medical conditions.

The New Brunswick Drug Plan will be implemented in two phases.  Phase 1 begins on May 1, 2014, with one year voluntary enrolment period for New Brunswickers with a valid Medicare card.  Phase 2 begins April 1, 2015 when all New Brunswickers must have prescription drug insurance.  Effective immediately and continuing to March 31, 2015, insurers are prohibited from reducing or eliminating drug coverage during this period.

Phase 1 – (May 1, 2014 – March 31, 2015)

  • The plan is voluntary and the premiums are graduated based on income
  • All plan members will be required to pay a 30 per cent co-pay at the pharmacy up to a maximum of $30 per prescription
  • Children 18 and under will not pay premiums, provided that at least one parent is enrolled in the plan
  • Individuals currently insured by a private plan, will also be able to join the plan at this time, if they have reached their yearly or lifetime maximum for drug coverage or if their private plan does not cover a specific drug that is included in the drug plan formulary.

Phase 1 premiums are as follows:

Gross Income Levels


Single with children/Couple with or without children

Annual Premium

(per adult)

Monthly Premium

(per adult)

$26,360 or less

$49,389 or less



$26,361 to $50,000

$49,390 to $75,000



$50,001 to $75,000

$75,001 to $100,000



Over $75,000

Over $100,000



 Phase 2 – (April 1, 2015)

  • Private group plans will be required to cover all drugs covered under the New Brunswick Drug Plan
  • Costs at the pharmacy must be managed in one of two ways depending on plan design:

1. co-payments paid at pharmacy may not exceed $30 per prescription; or

2. co-payments and/or deductibles paid at the pharmacy for each plan member may not exceed $2,000 per year

  • Private group plans cannot have annual or lifetime caps
  • After April 1, 2015, those who have group drug coverage available to them will not be eligible for the New Brunswick Drug Plan.  However, individuals will not be obligated to obtain or keep their private group coverage in the following cases:
    • from age 65;
    • from retirement;
    • if the person takes an employment leave of at least three months for medical reasons;
    • if the person takes a parental leave

For further assistance please contact Phyllis Leger at (506) 801-9243, pleger@fs-gc.ca or Joël Drolet at (506) 801-9242, jdrolet@fs-gc.ca .  You can also visit the New Brunswick Government website for more details and also consult the questions and answers section.



Download PDF