Extended Health Benefits What We Heard report released by GNWT
January 25, 2023
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.
“I would like to express my gratitude to everyone who provided thoughtful feedback on the proposed Extended Health Benefits Policy changes. Your input will be important in ensuring fairness and clarity in an updated version of the policy.”
– Julie Green, Minister of Health and Social Services
In total, 729 responses were received:
- 674 responses to the online survey;
- 12 written submissions received via email;
- 24 comments provided on the GNWT English and French Facebook posts;
- 3 in-person meetings with stakeholder representatives; and
- 22 participants and 16 questions / comments during the virtual Townhall discussion held November 16, 2022.
For media requests, please contact:
A/Manager of Communications
Department of Health and Social Services
Government of the Northwest Territories
(867) 767 – 9052 ext. 49037