Kerri’s story appeared in the final report of the Advisory Council on the Implementation of Pharmacare, A Prescription for Canada: Achieving Pharmacare for All

I’m a twenty-something freelance writer with two part-time jobs, and no benefits. I take common, but costly, medications for asthma and ADHD. I have not had private insurance since graduating university in 2014 and losing coverage through my dad’s employee plan.

Now I use our public provincial pharmacare program to cover the majority of my medications as it is still affordable. But let me be pointedly clear, the only reason it is “affordable” is that I still live with my parents and have few other expenses.

At the end of each year, I calculate how to deal with health costs for the next year: is it cheaper for me to pay the provincial deductible and medical expenses out of pocket, or should I get a private medical plan? Here’s what I learned. While it SEEMS like I can buy individual insurance, it turns out that few private plans cover “pre-existing conditions.” Even those through freelancers’ and writers’ unions.

With luck and continued work my income will increase, but so will my deductible, to the point where I will be paying the full cost out-of-pocket.

In our unstable job market, why do we continue to tether drug insurance to stable employment? Where does that leave the creatives and entrepreneurs who just happen to have a chronic illness?