Why did Freddie introduce financial assistance programs?
While PrEP is free for many people in Canada through provincial coverage, the unfortunate reality is that it is not free for everyone. Here is who is covered provincially in the five provinces Freddie currently serves:
Freddie’s new financial assistance programs were introduced to help our patients better afford PrEP. These programs are completely unique in Canada.
Financial assistance by Canadian provinces
Alberta & Saskatchewan
PrEP is fully covered provincially for people in Alberta and Saskatchewan who clinically qualify, so you can get completely free PrEP with your health card! Some pharmacies still charge co-pays and dispensing fees, but with Freddie, you can get PrEP delivered 100% for free.
PrEP is fully covered provincially for those 24 years old and younger under the OHIP+ program. So you can get completely free PrEP with your OHIP card!
Unfortunately, PrEP is not covered for those who are 25 years old and older, so Freddie has introduced two financial assistance programs for these individuals:
Program 1: (Almost) everyone with insurance pays a $0 co-pay with Freddie
While most private insurance plans cover PrEP, they usually do not cover the full cost, and the patient must pay a “co-pay.” PrEP costs around $250/month in Ontario, and most insurance plans cover 80% of the cost, although this varies from 50% to 100%. Thus, insurance typically covers around $200/month, and the patient typically pays about $50/month.
We know from experience that this cost is a barrier to people accessing PrEP. And it shouldn’t be.
At Freddie, we provide financial assistance so that most patients with insurance pay a $0 co-pay with Freddie. And therefore more people who need PrEP can access it.
Program 2: Financial support for those without insurance
If you do not have private insurance, you can get the Trillium Drug Program. Trillium is a prescription drug coverage program run by the Ministry of Health that is open to all Ontarians with OHIP. There is an annual deductible of 4% of household after-tax income. However, even with Trillium, PrEP can be expensive.
Freddie wants to make PrEP affordable to everyone, so we offer a financial assistance program that helps with your Trillium costs. Depending on your income, PrEP will either be free or low-cost! Fill in our medical questionnaire and speak with our clinicians to find out more.
Three months of free PrEP while you wait for your coverage
Getting coverage for PrEP can take a few months. Freddie helps you get on PrEP right away. Whether you have moved to a new province and are waiting for your provincial coverage to kick in (which takes up to three months) or you just applied for Trillium and are waiting for your application to be approved, Freddie provides three months of free PrEP so you can be protected right away.
Historically financial assistance programs to support the cost of medication for PrEP were unfortunately not allowed under Quebec law, regardless of whether someone had RAMQ or private insurance. On December 7, 2016, the Quebec government enacted Bill 92, which, among other things, introduced a ban against financial assistance for some medications to patients through a new Section 80.2(1).
You can read a summary of this put together by the law firm Fasken here or the official government language here: http://www2.publicationsduquebec.gouv.qc.ca/dynamicSearch/telecharge.php?type=1&file=74345.pdf
However, with Freddie’s 2021 launch of Descovy as a form of PrEP (equally effective as Truvada & generic Truvada), 85%+ of Quebec patients with private insurance can get this form of PrEP for free! Unfortunately, Descovy is not available for free to people with RAMQ.
At this time, due to funding limitations, Freddie is only able to serve Quebec residents with private insurance. We hope to serve Quebec patients without private insurance in the future.
Freddie’s mission is to make PrEP affordable and accessible for everyone. We hope you join us in this journey to empower people to enjoy sex and protect those we love from HIV.
If you would like to understand how much you will pay for PrEP or to get on PrEP, take the 1 minute eligibility assessment.