Originally published on January 25, 2022. Updated May 20, 2022.
The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) provides pharmacy benefits for First Nations in BC through partnership with BC PharmaCare and Pacific Blue Cross. PharmaCare Plan Wellness (Plan W) is the drug benefit plan for FNHA clients.
The FNHA continues to work with its partners to improve pharmacy benefits to meet the unique health needs of First Nations people in BC.
The following are recent changes to Plan W coverage and pharmacy benefits:
Changes to Rapid Acting Insulin Coverage
As of Nov. 30, 2021, PharmaCare is transitioning coverage for all BC residents of two rapid acting insulins to newly listed biosimilars:
During the transition phase between Nov. 30, 2021 and May 29, 2022, PharmaCare will cover both the originator drugs for existing patients and the biosimilars. Effective May 30, 2022, PharmaCare will cover only the biosimilars.
Biosimilar drugs are safe to use and work the same way as the originator drugs.
FNHA clients are encouraged to discuss their switching options with their healthcare provider or a virtual clinical pharmacist and get a new prescription for their insulin therapy before May 29, 2022.
Plan W Coverage for FNHA Clients in Licensed Residential Care Facilities
FNHA clients who are permanent residents of licensed residential care facilities (Plan B) can now access coverage for eligible prescription and over-the-counter items on Plan W formulary.
The change will help to ensure that First Nations Elders in Plan B facilities receive better support and equitable access to pharmacy benefits. FNHA clients or families will no longer have to pay out-of-pocket for eligible items fully covered under Plan W.
Additional Option for Contraception
On Dec. 7, 2021, Nexplanon was added to Plan W as an additional option for contraception.
Nexplanon is a birth control implant that is placed under the skin of the inner arm by a healthcare provider. Once inserted, the implant provides birth control for three years. It is an effective birth control that is fully reversible and can be removed at any time.
First Nations Health Benefits covers several forms of contraception: birth control pills, vaginal ring, patch, depo injection, and an implant.
FNHA clients are encouraged to talk to a healthcare provider about their contraceptive options.
The FNHA, in partnership with PharmaCare, continues to look at ways to improve access to medications for First Nations people across the province. As Plan W continues to evolve, please visit the PharmaCare formulary for the most up-to-date information on drug listings or contact Health Benefits at 1-855-550-5454.