Background: Canada does not have universal public coverage for prescription drugs, which leaves an important role for private insurance plans. However, we do not have recent data on the characteristics of Canadians who report holding such coverage, particularly differences based on household income. We performed a study to examine the relation between household income and private drug insurance coverage in Canada.
Methods: We used data from the 2015-2016 cycle of the Canadian Community Health Survey to investigate the relation between household income and holding private drug insurance. We constructed modified multivariate Poisson regression models with robust error variances, including several potential confounders.
Results: Overall, 59.4% of respondents reported having private drug insurance. We found a strong dose-response relation between household income level and private drug insurance coverage: 19.8% of those with a household income less than $20 000 reported private coverage, compared to 76.2% of those with a household income of $80 000 or more.
Interpretation: Higher-income households are much more likely to hold private drug insurance coverage in Canada. This likely contributes to differential access to medicines and health outcomes by different income groups.
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