Nova Scotia woman says medical coverage abruptly stopped by community services
Imagine being unable to find work for over a decade, due to a degenerative illness that leaves you in constant pain and reliant on the use of a wheelchair.
For one Nova Scotia woman, that’s been the reality. The key to her survival, she says, was medical coverage through the Nova Scotia Department of Community Services Pharmacare program.
“I really can’t survive without medical coverage. I get probably about $3,000 worth of medication each month covered through them,” April Hubbards said.
Hubbards lives with fatty tumors growing inside her spinal column. After years of struggling to find an employer to hire her, she recently secured a job.
The employer wouldn’t be providing her with benefits, so she called the department of community services to ensure her medical coverage would be continued if she accepted the job.
“I was under the understanding that my medical coverage would continue. I checked on that on four different occasions from last summer until now,” she said.
All of that double-checking led to Hubbards being shocked when she recently went in to pick up a routine prescription from her pharmacists and was informed her coverage had been stopped.
“The pharmacy was great,” she said. “They called right away through the Community Services Pharmacare program and were told that my coverage had been stopped in mid-September, so I was really confused by that.”
Without the coverage, the prescription would cost Hubbards $320.
The Department of Community Services declined an interview for this story.
In an email statement, spokesperson Shannon Kerr said specific case details cannot be discussed and that, “the Department of Community Services is committed to helping Nova Scotians in need. We encourage any client who has an issue with the services they receive to reach out to their caseworker immediately. We are pleased to hear this individual’s issue has since been resolved.”
Hubbards said she pursued an answer as to why her coverage was declined and was told she missed submitting paperwork, which she claims is untrue.
“I was in tears,” she said. “I think that got their attention a bit.”
“They told me that they hadn’t received my September income claim, despite the fact that I had taken time off work to fill it out, go in, sit there and hand it into somebody.”
Eventually, Hubbards had her coverage reinstated, but the ordeal has left her dismayed with the system, she says.
“It’s really scary for us that are trying to get out there and trying to get ahead and rebuild our lives,” Hubbards said, “and it’s not possible under the system that we have now, because there are so many roadblocks in place.”
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