November 2023 Weekly Meal Rate Increase
First Nations Health Benefits and Services (FNHBS) is committed to improving the quality and responsiveness of its programs and services to support First Nations people in their health and wellness journeys.
On November 1, 2023, FNHBS is increasing the meal rates for stays over six nights that include an escort. Clients and their approved escort will now receive $425 per week for meals. This represents a 50% increase from the previous combined rate of $283 per week, which covered both the Client and the escort. Learn more here.
Temporary Mileage Rate Increase
FNHBS actively monitors gas prices across British Columbia to ensure that changes do not impact Clients' ability to access medically necessary appointments when using their private vehicles.
The temporary Medical Transportation mileage rate of $0.29/km will be extended until March 31, 2024. Learn more here.
About this Benefit
For many First Nations people, especially those living in rural or remote areas, it can be challenging to access necessary medical care. Health Benefits offers support to help with these challenges through the medical transportation (MT) benefit.
Health Benefits works with First Nations communities to deliver the MT benefit. Community Patient Travel Clerks or FNHA Assessors are your connections to help you access your MT benefits. A Medical Transportation factsheet is available here.
Your MT Benefits provide assistance with the cost of meals, accommodation and transportation to help you travel to a medical appointment outside your community of residence. MT coverage is intended as a supplement and may not cover the full cost of your travel.
You can access medical transportation benefits if you are traveling to:
MT benefits cover travel to the closest appropriate provider, using the most efficient and economical type of transportation appropriate for your needs and medical condition.
Effective November 1, 2023, meal rates will change as reflected in the table below:
*Note: The rate of $425 per week is an inclusive rate for the Client and escort and applies only when the Client is an outpatient. An approved escort supporting a Client in the hospital will continue to access the weekly meal rate of $283 per week.
If you need someone to accompany you on your trip to your appointment, you may be eligible to travel with an escort. Escorts are covered under certain conditions, including if you:
You may be asked to provide documentation from your healthcare provider to show you need an escort.
Most clients should contact their community's Patient Travel Clerk to access medical transportation benefits. If your community does not have a Patient Travel Clerk or you do not know who to contact, call Health Benefits at 1-855-550-5454.
Submit a Medical Transportation Request Form at least 5 business days before your trip to get prior approval before travelling. You will also need to submit written confirmation of your appointment from your provider. If you do not get prior approval for your trip, or if you do not submit your request form ahead of time, you may have to reschedule your appointment or pay for your travel costs yourself and then request reimbursement.
Your community Patient Travel Clerk will make your travel arrangements and sends you the details.
Attend your appointment as scheduled.
If you have any questions about your medical transportation benefits, how to access coverage, or why a claim was denied, call Health Benefits at 1-855-550-5454.
Some types of travel are Exclusions. Exclusions cannot be covered as an exception and cannot be appealed. MT benefit Exclusions include, but are not limited to:
You can call Health Benefits at 1-855-550-5454 to learn more about what is covered.
When a coverage request for travel has been denied, you have the right to appeal the decision. Items and services that are Exclusions cannot be appealed. See the Appeals page for more information about the appeals process.
The forms below are for clients whose travel is being arranged by Health Benefits. If a Patient Travel clerk is arranging your travel, contact them for the appropriate forms.
Medical Transportation Checklist Medical Transportation Request Form Medical Transportation Confirmation of Appointment Form Medical Transportation Escort Form Medical Transportation Confirmation of Attendance Form
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