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

Columbia Basin Trust offering business accelerator program

Trust seeking motivated companies for customized support and mentorship program

Trail military exercises provide crucial training

Exercise Sapper Crucible: ‘The nuts and bolts of what a soldier is’

VIDEO: SPCA ushers in new era with Castlegar facility

$2.69-million project had ribbon cutting on Friday

Thrums, Riondel, and Slocan, revisited

Place Names: Scottish author delighted by Thrums name origin

Last stand for Silver City summer

Fall officially arrives in Trail at 6:54 p.m. on Saturday

Conservation officer frees B.C. deer from flotation gear mishap

BC Conservation Officer Service is reminding residents to keep backyards clear of entanglements

Lions earn stunning 35-32 OT win over Ticats

Epic comeback lifts B.C. past Hamilton in CFL thriller

Czarnik nets 3 as Flames dump Canucks 5-2

Calgary picks up exhibition win over Vancouver

Ottawa to name new ambassador for women, peace and security, Freeland says

Chrystia Freeland also confirmed Canada would spend about $25 million to fund number of initiatives

‘A little bright spot:’ Ottawa residents rescue dog trapped beneath rubble

Freelance journalist says rescue of a dog trapped under rubble was happy ending amid chaos in Ottawa

B.C. deaf community wants different sign languages on federal accessibility act

Advocates also want Indigenous Sign Language to be recognized on the Indigenous Language Act

VIDEO: B.C.-born firefighter remembered by MP in emotional speech

Family asks first responders to look after one another in wake of suicide, growing concerns of PTSD

Airline has ‘close call’ with drone while en route to B.C. airport

Jazz Aviation reported the drone sighting near Vancouver to the RCMP and Transport Canada

Tragic accident claims life of B.C. toddler

Fundraising effort has been created to help mom and family

Most Read