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#Winteriscoming: Stepping Up Your Self Care Game

#Winteriscoming: Stepping up your self care game

Winter is coming and we're trying to prepare for S.A.D. by stepping up our self care game. For many of us, medication is a big part of winter self care, unfortunately meds are expensive and many people simply can't afford them. If that sounds like you don't worry! Here are some programs to help you get started:

To begin with OHIP+ is a great option, although the program was recently restructured it's still pretty comprehensive! OHIP+ provides free medication to anyone who doesn't have a private insurance plan and is 24 and under.

Here’s how it works:

  • Get a prescription from your doctor
  • Go to the pharmacy and show them your health card
  • They will give you your medication for free (totally free - they won’t charge you a dispensing fee either)

The government will pay for over 4,400 medications; many drugs for depression, anxiety, schizophrenia/psychosis, ADD/ADHD and many other mental health conditions will be covered. Double check here to see if your medication will be included.

If your medication is not covered work with a doctor or nurse practitioner to apply for the Exceptional Access Program.

If you are over 24 you can still get help with drug costs. If you are on Ontario Works (OW) or Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) you are eligible for the Ontario Drug Benefit program. Ask your caseworker or your pharmacist for more information.

Alternatively if you are over 24 and not on OW or ODSP but don’t have enough money to pay for your prescription(s) you might qualify for the Trillium Drug Program. This program is for people with or without private benefits who spend 3-4% or more of their income on prescription drugs, you can apply each September. Here more information about this program.

If you need help filling out the form and live in London, ON you can connect with the advocate at LIFE*SPIN by calling 519-438-8676. If you are from a different area try calling 211, they have a full listing of community services. Alternatively you could connect with a community centre or library as they usually have a listing of community services.

Finally, to qualify for any of these programs you need a health card.

If don’t have a health card there are a few options

  • If you have other forms of ID you can go to a Service Ontario Centre and renew your card. Here is more information about the process.
  • If you don’t have any forms of ID you can go to an ID clinic, they will provide you with documents you need to get your health card. ID clinics are usually offered in Health Centres. In London you can go to the London Intercommunity Health Centre, for more information check out their website

One final note, if you’re not eligible for any of the programs above you might be able to write your prescriptions off on your taxes. Also, you could ask your doctor for samples of the medications you take and/or ask the doctor to prescribe you the generic version instead of the name brand version. 

I hope you found this information helpful! This is a great initiative that will positively impact the lives of many people.

Good job Ontario, keep it up!