The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) has released the What We Heard: Proposed Changes to the Extended Health Benefits (EHB) Policy report.
From August 29 to November 23, 2022, the Department solicited input and feedback from the public and stakeholders on the proposed changes outlined in the discussion paper titled “Supplementary Health Benefit Policy Framework.”
Of the responses collected, common themes included:
Support for expanding coverage to provide all NWT residents with access to supplementary health and drug benefits, but not by removing existing programs or reducing coverage for residents currently on the Specified Disease Condition program.
Support for considering the high cost of living in the NWT and additional living and medical costs incurred by persons with disabilities and persons living with chronic medical conditions or rare diseases in relation to establishing thresholds and cost-sharing requirements.
Support for residents above the low-income threshold who require costly medical supplies and equipment.
Concerns that third party insurance may be more difficult or expensive to get, and not as comprehensive for those with pre-existing conditions, or those who are older.
Support for persons who have conditions that require costly medications to receive their medications free, regardless of income, to reduce barriers to accessing health benefits.
The objective of the public engagement was to gather feedback from residents and stakeholders to improve the policy to better support their needs. The Extended Health Benefits Policy has seen little change in the last 34 years and no longer meets the objectives of fairness and equity as a publicly funded benefit program.
The result of this public stakeholder engagement will help to inform the development of a revised Extended Health Benefits Policy.