Individuals & Families

Comprehensive Guide to the Alberta Coverage for Seniors Program

Garrett Agencies Team
June 2, 2024
5 min read


The Alberta Coverage for Seniors program is a government sponsored initiative designed to support the health and well-being of Alberta residents aged 65 and older. As part of the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP), this program ensures that seniors have access to essential prescription medications and certain medical supplies, helping to alleviate the financial burden of healthcare costs. This article will provide an in-depth look at the Alberta Coverage for Seniors program, including its coverage, eligibility, and why additional private health insurance might still be a wise consideration for seniors.

Eligibility and Enrollment

To be eligible for the Alberta Coverage for Seniors program, individuals must meet the following criteria:

  • Age: 65 years or older.
  • Residency: Must be a resident of Alberta and registered with the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP).

When AHCIP records indicate an Albertan will be turning 65, a package is mailed to their address on file providing information about programs and services for seniors. This package includes a letter asking for proof-of-age documents if required. If a proof-of-age document is already on file, coverage is automatically added to the AHCIP account. If not, seniors need to submit a proof-of-age document and a completed Proof-of-Age Declaration form. Acceptable documents include a Canadian driver’s license, Alberta ID card, birth certificate, old-age pension entitlement form, passport or immigration record, and Canadian citizenship certificate.

Coverage Details

The Alberta Coverage for Seniors program covers a wide range of prescription medications and health-related supplies. The key components of coverage include:

  1. Prescription Drugs: The program covers most prescription medications listed on the Alberta Drug Benefit List (ADBL). This list is regularly updated to include drugs that are deemed necessary and cost-effective. Provincial formularies like the ADBL typically include between 4,500 and 5,500 prescription medications. There is a co-payment of 30%, up to a maximum of $25 per prescription.
  2. Diabetic Supplies: Essential diabetic supplies, such as insulin, syringes, and blood glucose testing strips, are covered up to $2,400 per eligible person per benefit year, depending on the method of diabetes management. There is no co-pay for eligible diabetes supplies.
  3. Ambulance Services: Seniors enrolled in the program do not receive a bill for ambulance services. AHCIP pays the complete cost of ambulance services to the maximum rate established by the Alberta government for treatment and transportation to and from a general, active treatment hospital.
  4. Clinical Psychological Services: Coverage includes up to $60 per visit, to a maximum of $300 per family each benefit year for treatment of mental or emotional illness by a registered chartered psychologist.
  5. Home Nursing Care: Coverage up to $200 per family each benefit year for nursing care provided in the patient's home by a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse.
  6. Chiropractic Services: Coverage up to $25 per visit, to a maximum of $200 per person each benefit year.

Additional Benefits and Services

Apart from prescription drugs, the Alberta Coverage for Seniors program may offer coverage for other health-related services, including certain over-the-counter medications prescribed by a physician and access to specialized health programs and services designed for seniors.

Why Consider Private Health Insurance?

While the Alberta Coverage for Seniors program provides significant coverage for prescription medications, there are several reasons why seniors might still consider an additional private health insurance plan:

  1. Extended Medication Coverage: Private health insurance plans often cover a broader range of medications, including those not listed on the ADBL. While provincial formularies cover between 4,500 and 5,500 prescription medications, private health insurance plans typically cover tens of thousands of prescription medications, providing a much more comprehensive list of covered drugs. This can be particularly important for new or experimental drugs that may not yet be included in the provincial plan.
  2. Supplemental Health Services: Private plans typically offer coverage for additional health services not covered by the provincial plan, such as:
    1. Dental Care: Routine check-ups, cleanings, and more extensive dental work.
    2. Vision Care: Eye exams, glasses, and contact lenses.
    3. Paramedical Services: Physiotherapy, chiropractic care, massage therapy, and acupuncture.
    4. Medical Equipment: Hearing aids, walkers, and other necessary medical devices.
  3. Travel Insurance: Many private health insurance plans include travel insurance, covering medical expenses incurred while traveling outside of Canada. This is especially important for seniors who travel frequently or spend extended periods in other countries.
  4. Flexibility and Convenience: Private insurance plans can offer more flexible and convenient options, such as virtual health care for getting access to medical advice faster and more conveniently.
  5. Enhanced Support and Services: Some private insurance plans provide additional support services, including wellness programs, health advice, and counseling services, which can contribute to overall well-being.
  6. Cost Considerations: Provincial coverage may be subject to deductibles, dispensing fee limits, and income tests, which could make out-of-pocket costs higher than those with a private insurance plan. Private plans can sometimes offer more predictable and manageable costs for comprehensive coverage.


The Alberta Coverage for Seniors program is a valuable resource for seniors in Alberta, providing essential coverage for prescription medications and other health-related supplies. However, considering the limitations of the provincial plan, including a formulary that covers 4,500 to 5,500 medications, seniors may benefit from the additional coverage and services offered by private health insurance plans, which can cover a more comprehensive range of medications. Evaluating individual healthcare needs and understanding the benefits of both the provincial and private plans can help seniors make informed decisions about their health coverage, ensuring comprehensive protection and peace of mind in their golden years. Professional licensed advisors at Garrett Agencies can assist with options for health care plans for those who are 65+ or are entering retirement.

By taking advantage of the Alberta Coverage for Seniors program and potentially supplementing it with private health insurance, seniors can enjoy a more secure and comfortable retirement, free from the worry of unexpected medical expenses.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Stay Informed with the Latest Insights and Updates

By clicking Sign Up you're confirming that you agree with our Terms and Conditions.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.