With the birthing services on hold at Stanton Territorial Hospital in Yellowknife, many people wonder what options they have for medical travel – and what financial support is available for it.
In the NWT, medical care will be different for all patients, health agency spokesman David Maguire told CBC in an email.
The territorial government has one Manual to help people understand medical travel, a widespread program – 15,141 patients and 6,443 medical companions used medical travel in 2019-2020.
The support available to residents of NWT depends on your income levels, if you have dependents and whether you are eligible for programs such as federal uninsurable health benefits or Métis territorial health benefits, Maguire wrote.
While the NWT’s medical policy is that the cost of medical travel should not be a barrier to access to insurable health services, some individuals may incur some costs depending on their services.
At the Legislative Assembly, MLA asked Caitlin Cleveland if the NWT government would waive costs such as a $ 400 airline ticket co-payment fee, and increase hotel refunds from $ 50 to $ 100 whether or not a person is traveling with a companion.
However, Julie Green, Minister of Health, said the benefits will remain the same and will be the same as those available to all medical travel patients.
She said medical travel is not a “dollar for dollar” reimbursement for traveling south, and paying more in costs such as family childcare and loss of income will set a “precedent”.
CBC News has put together a rundown of what some people can expect in terms of medical travel assistance based on their accomplishments.
If you are not privately insured
You are entitled to two levels of support based on household income and access to health benefits such as uninsured federal health benefits if you have a valid contract or status card (details here), territorial Health benefits of Métis or Advanced health benefits.
To receive extended health benefits, you must enroll in the Senior Citizens Program, the Specific Disease Program, or the Métis Health Benefits Program.
If you are insured under Uninsured, Métis or Extended Health Insurance, you and your companion will coordinate and cover your airfare, food, accommodation and ground transportation in Edmonton.
You can also travel alone and request reimbursement by filing expense reports.
The low income threshold is $ 75,000 for individuals, $ 85,000 for a couple, or $ 100,000 for a couple or an individual with dependents.
When you don’t have any health benefits
Unless you have employer, third-party, low-income, or supplemental health benefits, you are eligible for patient airfare with a $ 400 co-payment for round-trip and authorized non-medical escort flights.
You will be reimbursed for local Edmonton transportation to and from the airport, accommodation, hospital and pharmacy.
You and your companion will each be reimbursed up to USD 18 per day and an overnight stay of USD 50 each, excluding the days on which the patient is admitted to the hospital.
If you are unionized
At least a dozen active agreements are posted on the Union of Northern Workers website where you can search by language in the medical travel agreement e.g. B. Vacation Entitlements.
The area government encourages those with private health insurance to obtain information about medical travel entitlements through their employers.
If you work for the NWT government
You need a medical document that certifies the need for extra-community treatment. You will be reimbursed for:
Taxi fare, although airport shuttles should be used when possible.
The cheapest flight price or miles refund.
Up to 25 days of hotel accommodation and meals / ancillary costs.
Maximum of $ 50 per day for room, board, and local transportation if you need to stay longer than 25 days. This reimbursement will be reduced after 40 days and will not include days of hospitalization or treatment.
If you are a member of the collective bargaining agreement and are accompanying the delivery, you are entitled to special leave that cannot be refused unreasonably.
As a companion, you apply for travel assistance as part of a surgical or medical group plan and share the premium with your employer. If you’d rather drive than fly, travel time cannot be deducted from your sick leave unless it exceeds the time it would take to fly.
If you do not have an NWT health card
The NWT government recommends that you get private health insurance.