Health benefit coverage increases, says FNHA

Mike Youds, June 17, 2019

Sharilyn Erickson is one of the First Nations Health Authority's many clients across B.C. (FNHA photo)

British Columbia — 

The First Nations Health Authority provides coverage for eligible clients for a broad range of health and wellness items and services, said spokesman Davis McKenzie.

Since assuming administration of the program in 2013, FNHA has increased coverage across benefit areas, specifically in medical transportation, pharmacy and mental health.

“We have also advanced the work of transformation of the dental, vision and medical supply benefits into a new service model and partnership, to be launched Fall 2019,” said McKenzie. “At the same time, the First Nation client base has increased, and reimbursement rates and total expenditures have grown.”

Eligibility criteria have remained the same since benefits were transferred from Health Canada to FNHA, with the exception that families now have 18 months rather than 12 to register newborn infants.

Health and wellness items and services include:

  • BC Medical Service Plan (MSP) premium coverage
  • Ambulance invoice coverage
  • Health Benefits coverage, including dental, medical supplies and equipment; medical transportation; mental health (which also includes mental wellness and counselling, Indian residential school resolution health support, and health support services dealing with incidence of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
  • Pharmacy
  • Vision

 Since the transfer of health benefits coverage from Health Canada to FNHA:

  • Dental expenditure from 2013-2019 increased by 22 percent, the number of clients served from 2013-2019 has increased by eight percent, and the average year over year percent change in expenditure from 2013 to 2019 was four percent.
  • The number of clients served has increased by six percent overall and the average annual percent change in expenditure from 2013 to 2019 was six percent.
  • Medical transportation rates have increased; for example, the per diem adult meal rate increased from $31 to $48, and the mileage rate increased from 20 cents to 23 cents, representing $13 more for the average trip.
  • Mental health counselling rates have increased from $73 to $90 per session for counselors, and from $95 to $150 per session for psychologists and social workers.
  • Pharmacy expenditure from 2013-2019 increased by 48 percent and the number of clients served from 2013-2019 has increased by three percent, and the average year over year percent change in expenditure from 2013 to 2019 was eight percent.
  • Vision expenditure from 2013-2019 increased by 120 percent, the number of clients served from 2013 to 2019 increased by 110 percent, and the average year-over-year percent change from 2013 to 2019 was 25 percent.

For more information about benefits, clients and providers are encouraged to visit www.FNHA.ca/benefits.

Every individual’s health and wellness situation is unique, so the best way to resolve issues and get help is as follows:

  • FNHA encourages clients to call the health benefits program at 1-855-550-5454 with any questions.
  • Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council (NTC) employs a nurse navigator (250-724-5757) and FNHA also has in-house nurse navigators (250-230-1503) to help clients better access their benefits.
  • Health-care providers with questions about FNHA client benefits can also call 1-855-550-5454. FNHA encourages providers to stay current on benefits available to clients.