NIHB Agreement: A Comprehensive Guide for Indigenous Health Benefits in Canada
The Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) program was established in 1979 to provide health benefits to eligible First Nations and Inuit people who are not covered by other health benefit plans. The program is administered by Indigenous Services Canada and is intended to complement the services provided by provincial and territorial health care systems.
The NIHB program provides coverage for a wide range of medically necessary goods and services, including prescription medications, dental services, medical supplies and equipment, vision care, mental health services, and transportation to medically necessary services.
In order to access the NIHB program, individuals must be registered under the Indian Act or recognized by their respective Indigenous governments. Eligibility requirements vary depending on the specific benefit category and the Indigenous group being served.
The NIHB program is governed by an agreement between Indigenous Services Canada and the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, and the Métis National Council. The 10-year agreement, which came into effect on April 1, 2019, includes provisions for improving access to health services, enhancing coordination and collaboration among health care providers, and improving health outcomes for Indigenous peoples.
Under the agreement, Indigenous Services Canada has committed to increasing the NIHB program`s budget by 3% annually to account for population growth and inflation. The agreement also includes provisions for increased accountability and transparency, including the establishment of an independent advisory committee to provide advice on program priorities, performance, and evaluation.
In addition to the NIHB program, Indigenous Services Canada also provides a number of other health services for First Nations and Inuit people, including the First Nations and Inuit Home and Community Care program, which provides home care services to seniors and people with disabilities, and the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, which is responsible for public health and community-based health programs.
Overall, the NIHB program is an important resource for Indigenous peoples in Canada, providing access to essential health services that might not otherwise be covered. The recent agreement between Indigenous Services Canada and Indigenous organizations aims to improve the program and ensure that it continues to meet the needs of Indigenous peoples for years to come.