Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) - Bill C-3 Question and Answer Document

What Bill was passed to enable clients to become Status Indians?

The Gender Equity in Indian Registration Act (Bill C-3) received Royal Assent on December 15, 2010 and came into force on January 31, 2011. It is sometimes referred to as the McIvor case.                

What is the purpose of Bill C-3?

Bill C-3 ensures that eligible grandchildren of women who lost status as a result of marrying non-Indian men are entitled to registration (Indian Status).

Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) Information:

What is the mandate of the NIHB Program?

Indigenous Services Canada's Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) Program provides registered First Nations and recognized Inuit residents of Canada, a limited range of medically necessary health-related goods and services when these benefits are not otherwise provided by other government programs or private plans. 

What benefits are covered by the NIHB Program?

Eligible benefit areas include:

  • Drugs (including prescription and over-the-counter drugs)
  • Medical Supplies and Equipment
  • Dental Care
  • Eye and Vision Care
  • Mental Health Counselling
  • Assistance with Medical Transportation to access medically necessary services

When will clients be eligible for NIHB?

  • Individuals become eligible for non-insured health benefits when they are officially registered with Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) as status Indians and have an INAC registration number.
  • Clients will be eligible to receive non-insured health benefits from the date indicated on their registration confirmation letter from INAC onwards.
  • Clients must be residents of Canada and have a provincial/territorial health care card to be eligible for the NIHB Program.

Do clients have to register with the NIHB Program?

  • Clients do not need to register with the NIHB Program.
  • INAC will send clients' registration numbers and information to NIHB directly.
  • It may take up to two weeks for NIHB to receive the information from INAC.

Will clients be reimbursed for past health expenses/benefits?

  • Clients become eligible for non-insured health benefits as of their registration date as a Status Indian. This date is indicated on their registration confirmation letter from INAC.
  • NIHB will not reimburse clients for benefits/services received before that date.

What if there is a time delay between the client getting their INAC Registration Letter and receiving their status card?

  • Clients can submit an NIHB client reimbursement request form and receipts to their regional office to be reimbursed for eligible NIHB benefits that they have paid for during the time between when they are registered with INAC and when they receive their INAC Indian Status card.

How do clients access Non-Insured Health Benefits?

  • Clients can take their registration letters or status cards to providers registered with the NIHB Program to receive benefits at no cost to them at the point of service.
  • For benefits/services paid for by clients after their registration date, they can submit an NIHB client reimbursement claim form to the regional office.
  • Note: most benefits require a prescription from an NIHB recognized health professional and/or prior approval from the regional office.

Why should NIHB clients keep their private health coverage?

  • Some of the benefits clients may currently be receiving from any private, employer-sponsored, or other public health care coverage may not be eligible benefits under the NIHB Program (e.g. physiotherapy, chiropractic treatment).
  • Clients must access any other health plans/programs they are eligible for before submitting claims to the NIHB Program.

INAC Process and Contact Information:

How does someone apply for Indian Status under Bill C-3?

Individuals who want to register must submit an application to Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) and must meet all of the following three criteria:

  • The applicant's grandmother lost her Indian status as a result of marrying a non-Indian;
  • One of the applicant's parents was registered, or was entitled to be registered, under sub-section 6(2) of the Indian Act;
  • The applicant or a sibling was born on or after September 4, 1951.

INAC has developed a service for Bill C-3 applicants (different from the regular application process) whereby eligible applicants can expect to receive registration as an Indian under the Indian Act and an in-Canada Secure Certificate of Indian Status (status card) in one step. This has resulted in the development of a new registration form and a process whereby registration applications will only be accepted by mail.

Where can clients get INAC registration forms?

INAC registration forms are available on the INAC web site, from the INAC Call Centre, and at INAC Regional Offices.

INAC Public Enquiries Contact Centre
Phone: (toll-free) 1-800-567-9604
Fax: 1-866-817-3977

TTY: (toll-free) 1-866-553-0554

Where can clients find more information on the registration process?

Information on the registration process as well as general information on the Gender Equity in Indian Registration Act can be found on INAC's website.

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