Important information for Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) clients living in British Columbia

Are you a NIHB client in BC? Your health benefits may now be provided by the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA).  Read our Q&A below to find out how this change affects you.

Who is eligible for Health Benefits under the FNHA?

Eligibility for the FNHA Health Benefits program extends to include all First Nations people (that have a status number) who are residents of British Columbia (excluding persons who receive health benefits by way of a First Nations organization pursuant to self-government agreements with Canada).

For additional information, refer to schedule 5, section 2 (page 54) of the British Columbia Tripartite Framework Agreement on First Nations Health Governance.

I live in BC. How can I confirm that I am eligible for FNHA Health Benefits?

Any First Nations people (that have a status number) who were considered BC residents prior to July 2, 2013 should already be enrolled with the FNHA. You are encouraged to contact the FNHA office (formerly the Health Canada Regional office) at 1-800-317-7878 to ensure you are on or added to the FNHA Health Benefits Eligibility List.

What if I am a First Nations person, but I am only in BC temporarily, and I need to obtain NIHB benefits?

First Nations who are not residents of BC will continue to be covered by Health Canada’s NIHB Program. If you contact the FNHA, your call will be transferred to a Health Canada representative. You may also contact Health Canada directly at 1-800-232-7301.

What if I am an Inuit NIHB client in BC?

Inuit NIHB clients will continue to be covered by Health Canada’s NIHB Program. If you contact the FNHA, your call will be transferred to a Health Canada representative. You may also contact Health Canada directly at 1-800-232-7301.

Will anything change at my pharmacy or dental office? Will my dentist or pharmacist still be able to submit my claim electronically to FNHA?

Clients and providers should expect “business as usual” when it comes to submitting health benefit claims for pharmacy, dental, and medical supplies & equipment benefits electronically at the point-of-sale.

In order to ensure service continuity for clients and service providers, the FNHA will purchase (or “buy-back”) some claims processing and associated services from Health Canada in these benefit areas. This arrangement will be in place for the next two to four years, while the BC FNHA builds the capacity and systems to provide process health benefit claims directly.

Is there new contact information for clients? For providers? Who do I call about my health benefits?

All contact information for the Health Benefits Program in BC will remain unchanged for this interim (transitional) period.

  • The FNHA Health Benefits Department can be reached at 1-800-317-7878
  • Non-resident First Nations in BC, and Inuit NIHB clients in BC, will have their calls transferred to Health Canada’s NIHB Program by the FNHA, or can reach Health Canada’s NIHB Program directly at 1-800-232-7301.
  • Health Services/Benefits Providers will be served by FNHA, or will have their calls regarding non-FNHA clients transferred to Health Canada’s NIHB Program by the FNHA. Providers can reach Health Canada’s NIHB Program directly at 1-800-232-7301. For information regarding claims processing, providers can contact Express Scripts Canada at 1-888-511-4666.

What if I have recently moved to or from British Columbia? What should I do?

In order to ensure continuity of coverage, all clients who have recently moved to or from BC should update their residency status with the FNHA Health Benefits Department at 1-800-317-7878.

Clients are responsible for notifying FNHA if they have moved to or from BC, which will enable both FNHA and NIHB benefits programs to ensure continuity of coverage (including payment of BC MSP premiums on behalf of those clients living in BC).

If you are a BC resident
, but not on the FNHA’s list of eligible clients, you can:

If you have recently moved to BC from another region of Canada, you become eligible for FNHA Health Benefits at the same time as you become eligible for a BC Care Card. During the period before you become eligible for FNHA Health Benefits, Health Canada’s NIHB program will continue to cover you.

If you are moving from BC to another region of Canada, FNHA will work with you to confirm the date on which your NIHB coverage will resume, and provide contact information for the Health Canada (NIHB) Regional Office nearest you.

I am a member of a BC First Nation, but I don’t live in BC now. Which Program am I covered under?

This change does not affect you. You remain eligible for NIHB benefits from Health Canada. Eligibility for FNHA Health Benefits is linked to your current residency, not the location of the community or Band through which you obtained your status.

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