Starting June 1st, NWT residents will be paying $200 one way for medical travel outside their community.
The increase is to the co-payment fees, a deductible NWT residents pay when they travel to access medical care not available in their communities. After remaining roughly the same since 1995, the fees will rise from $125 to $200 per one way trip to reflect the cost of medical travel.
“To bring the cost-share of medical travel costs into alignment with current travel costs of the Medical Travel Program, adjustment to the co–payment rate is being made.”
The change will only affect NWT residents without medical travel benefits through their insurance company and who are also not considered low income.
The Department of Health and Social Services is also expanding the threshold for those who qualify as low income, and therefore do not have to pay the co-payment. To qualify as low income, people must meet the following criteria:
- Earn $70,000 or less per year (individuals)
- Earn a combined income of $85,000 or less per year (married, common law)
- Earn a combined income of $100,000 or less per year (individuals with one or more minor children)
The department also states it will consider ‘exceptional circumstances’ and look at flexible solutions under a new exceptions policy. “This change will provide improved timeliness, responsiveness and allow for more client centred service delivery within the administration of the Medical Travel Program,” the GNWT states.