With delivery services on hold at the 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 assistance will be different for all patients, health authority spokesperson David Maguire told CBC in an email.
The territorial government has a guide to help people understand medical travel, a program that is widely used – 15,141 patients and 6,443 medical escorts used medical travel in 2019-2020.
The support available to residents of the NWT differs depending on your income level, whether you have dependents, and your eligibility for programs such as uninsurable federal health benefits or territorial Métis health benefits, a writes Maguire.
Although NWT medical policy states that the cost of medical travel should not be a barrier to accessing insurable health services, some people, depending on their benefits, may end up with certain costs.
In the Legislature, MP Caitlin Cleveland asked if the Government of the Northwest Territories would waive costs such as the $ 400 cost-sharing fee for airline tickets, and increase the hotel’s reimbursement from $ 50 to $ 100, whether or not a person is traveling with an escort.
But Health Minister Julie Green said the benefits will remain the same, corresponding to what all medical travel patients can access.
She said medical travel is not a replacement for the “dollar for dollar” costs of going down South, and that paying more for costs such as family child care and lost income will create a ” previous “.
CBC News has put together an overview of what some people can expect in terms of medical travel support based on its benefits.
If you don’t have private insurance
You are eligible for two levels of assistance based on household income and access to health benefits such as uninsured federal health benefits if you have a valid convention or status card (details here), territorial Métis health benefits Where Supplementary health benefits.
To get extended health benefits, you must be enrolled in the Seniors Program, Specified Illnesses Program, or Métis Health Benefits Program.
If you are covered by uninsured, Métis, or extended health benefits, you and your attendant will have your plane ticket coordinated and covered, as well as meals, accommodation, and ground transportation to Edmonton.
You can also travel alone and request reimbursement by submitting expense reports.
The low income cut-off is set at $ 75,000 for individuals, $ 85,000 for a couple or $ 100,000 for a couple or a person with dependents.
If you don’t have any health benefits
If you do not have an employer, third party, low-income health insurance or supplemental health insurance, you are entitled to patient airfare with a co-payment of $ 400 for round trip and unauthorized escort plane ticket.
Expenses you incur for local transportation in Edmonton to and from the airport, accommodation, hospital and pharmacy will be reimbursed.
You and your attendant will be reimbursed up to $ 18 per day each, plus a nightly accommodation rate of $ 50 each, excluding days the patient is admitted to the hospital.
If you are unionized
At least a dozen active agreements are posted on the Northern Workers Union website, where you can search the terms of the agreement relating to medical travel, such as leave entitlements.
The territorial government encourages people with private insurance through their employer to request information about medical travel rights.
If you work for the government of the NWT
You need a medical document certifying the need for treatment outside the community. You will be reimbursed:
Taxi fare, but airport shuttles should be used if possible.
The most economical airline ticket or mileage reimbursement.
Up to 25 days of hotel accommodation and meals / incidentals.
A maximum of $ 50 per day for accommodation, meals, local transportation if you need to stay more than 25 days. This reimbursement is spread over 40 days, and does not include the days of hospitalization or treatment.
If you are under the collective agreement and you are accompanying the person giving birth, you are entitled to special leave which cannot be refused without a valid reason.
As a companion, you request travel assistance under a group surgical or medical plan and share the premium with your employer. If you choose to drive rather than fly, the travel time cannot be deducted from your sick leave unless it exceeds the time it would take to fly.
If you don’t have a NWT health card
The government of the NWT recommends that you consider purchasing private health insurance.