Need help paying for your medications?

(note: TVFHT does not endorse a single insurance provider; we share this as information for the benefit of patients.)

Learn about the GreenShield Cares’ Essential Medicines Program

Program overview:

GreenShield Cares’ Essential Medicines program provides eligible patients coverage of up to $1,000 for drugs included in GreenShield’s approved essential medicines list. Medications are dispensed and delivered by GreenShield Health’s online pharmacy, The Health Depot. There is no co-pay and shipping is free.

A clinical pharmacist is available to review medications and provide advice.

Who is eligible?
  • A resident of Ontario
  • Currently employed (but do not have to be currently working)
  • Aged 25 to 64
  • Have an income below Statistics Canada Low-Income Measure (LIM)* – see chart below.
  • Require prescription medications to treat a diagnosed medical condition
  • Not enrolled in any private or employee drug plan
  • Not enrolled in an Ontario public drug program, with the exception of the Trillium Drug Program
These numbers will be increasing, but can be used as a guide for now. No formal evidence is required for enrollment.
Information for patients:

How the program works | Frequently Asked Questions

For more information, please call GreenShield:

How to apply:
Information for health care providers:
  • About GreenShield Cares’ Essential Medicines Program
  • Identify someone who may benefit (see above criteria)
  • Provide generic information to the patient to fill out paperwork, or assist in the simple application form. (We are working on getting a fillable EMR application that can be faxed directly from EMRs. Stay tuned.)
  • Inform patient not all meds that are prescribed will be covered, and that they must obtain the funded medications from an online pharmacy (The Health Depot), located in London. Patients do not need to switch all of their prescriptions to this pharmacy, but there is a dedicated clinical pharmacist who is able to provide clinical services as needed (medication reviews, pharmaceutical opinions, etc.) and the dispensing fee tends to be lower than most retail pharmacies.
  • Medications will be filled by this pharmacy and shipped to your home / address of choice.
  • Coverage lasts 1 year and must be reapplied for at the end of that time.

GreenShield’s essential medicines list was developed by members of GreenShield’s Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee and was informed by the World Health Organization’s model list of essential medicines. The list includes drugs that meet the priority healthcare needs of a population and were selected based on evidence for clinical efficacy, safety, and cost-effectiveness.

Here is a summary of the evidence that this program is based on:

Synopsis: RCT of 786 patients in Ontario who could not afford their prescription medication were randomized to free access compared to usual care / access of medications.

Primary Outcome – Adherence, with secondary measures around surrogate health outcomes, and expenditures.


  1. Adherence absolute increase 10% in adherence
  2. 60% increase (absolute) in patients now being able to make ends meet (rent, food, etc.)
  3. Healthcare system perspective – ~$1000 Median or $2000 (mean) savings per patient over 2-year study (reduce ER visits and hospitalizations)

For more information or a copy of the updated formulary, please contact GreenShield:

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