The FNHA version of Pharmacare, called “Plan W,” will be slightly different than that of the rest of the province. (Pexels)

143,000 First Nations to switch to tailored B.C. Pharmacare plan

FNHA clients who need prescription medications will have to provide their status card and care card

Status First Nations people in B.C. will begin health coverage under a tailored version of provincial pharmacare system on Sunday, marking the first time a province takes over health care coverage for that group.

Since 1979, First Nations people in B.C. have been covered under Canada Health’s Non-Insured Health Benefits program, which provides coverage for prescription medications, dental and medical supplies.

Grand Chief Doug Kelly, president of the Sto:lo Tribal Council in Chilliwack, said bringing the healthcare plan under the First Nations Health Authority will allow coverage to be focused on what those in B.C. need.

“What we often find, is governments will often fight over who pays for what,” Kelly said. “What we do with this decision to take ourselves away from the national program, is there’s no longer a fight over who will pay for prescription drugs. Pharmacare will be the only payer.”

The new benefits plan will affect 143,000 health authority clients.

The FNHA version of Pharmacare, called “Plan W,” will be slightly different than that of the rest of the province.

Because many First Nations people don’t file income taxes, Kelly said, many don’t meet the proper requirements for Pharmacare.

READ MORE: Groundbreaking agreement forms First Nations Health Authority

READ MORE: First Nations people in B.C. three times more likely to die of overdose

“Most Indigenous folks are impoverished, barely getting by,” he said. “So, for us, income testing doesn’t work. The way it’s done for other British Columbians is by the filing of income tax returns. Many of our folks are so poor they don’t file income tax forms.”

FNHA clients who need prescription medications will instead have to provide their status card and care card and will receive their prescription medication for free, covered by Pharmacare.

The differences behind the scenes have been a long time coming, according to Kelly, who’s advocated for 30 years for a provincial-based plan.

In 2006, then-premier Gordon Campbell said all health services delivered by the province would be made available to all British Columbians. In 2011, the First Nations Health Authority was created, and began delivering services in 2013.

This new Pharmacare plan will be tweaked based on concerns and issues that may arise around access and implementation, Kelly said.

“The chiefs told us if you’re going to do this, then you do a better job,” Kelly said. “It’s not good enough to take over the work the government once did for us, you’ve got to do a better job.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

New Topaz Park plans include second Victoria skatepark

Splashpad, pickleball court and fenced off-leash parks being considered

Island Health sends out call to staff supervised consumption service in Victoria

Request for proposals open until January, site to open in late spring 2018

Saanich doubles price to provide fire dispatch services to Esquimalt

District of Saanich says it can no longer afford to subsidize service to smaller municipality

High construction costs send Douglas bus lane project $2.2 million higher

But re-tendered bid process by Victoria secures lower bid for Hillside-to-Tolmie stretch

Victoria employers struggle to keep pace with holiday rush

Reports suggest seasonal hiring will outperform previous years

Me Too At Work: Sexual assault and harassment in the B.C. workplace

Introducing an in-depth look at who is affected and what can be done

No More Shootouts: Strong defence will be Canada’s backbone at world juniors

Head coach doesn’t want a situation where a hot goalie or a lucky bounce can determine a team’s fate

Victoria denies potshop on Saanich border

Plans for a pot shop on Saanich’s border have gone up in… Continue reading

Proposed snowmobiles along Sicamous roads concern RCMP

RCMP, ICBC and province not yet on-board with proposed off-road bylaw in the B.C. Interior

‘Assemble your own meal’ kits grow into $120M industry in Canada

Kits offer a middle ground between eating out and grocery shopping

Millennials closing in as B.C.’s biggest wine drinkers

Generation X leads the way in current consumption of B.C. wine, as more wine drinkers are enjoying local varietals

Canadians lag behind Americans in giving to charity

Only one-in-five Canadians donated to charities in 2017

Pair of pubs in Nanaimo scrap straws

VIU Students’ Union Pub, Dinghy Dock Pub no longer put straws in drinks

One man in hospital following targeted shooting in Courtenay

A 57-year-old Courtenay man is in hospital with a gunshot wound following… Continue reading

Most Read