The Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) program is available for eligible Nisga’a citizens on an as needed basis. Coverage includes a specified range of prescriptive medicines, dental care, vision care, medical supplies and equipment, short-term crisis intervention, mental health counseling, and medical transportation (patient travel). In order to access benefits, Nisga’a citizens must be registered with one of the four Nisga’a villages, and processes must be adhered to before approval is granted. It’s important to note that NIHB workers are not trying to be difficult when processing claims or requests. In order to be fully accountable, the checks and balances are necessary and extremely important. There are a total of six workers within the department who process benefits for approximately five thousand Nisga’a citizens, so the number of claims that are processed on a weekly basis can be staggering. The work is extremely stressful. Your continued patience, and understanding for the tremendous work that NIHB workers do for you on a weekly basis is greatly appreciated!
Nisga’a citizens access the NIHB program to its fullest extent, so much so, that the program runs a deficit each year. The program is extremely successful, but very difficult to manage financially. Like any other program, the Non-Insured Health Benefits program operates on an annual budget. Even with the high cost of living, and the increasing cost of medical services that are provided, particularly prescriptive medicines, the budget essentially remains the same each year. As a result, it is a very expensive program. At the end of each fiscal, the total cost of benefits provided to Nisga’a citizens far exceeds the funding that is provided for the program. Nevertheless, the Nisga’a Valley Health Authority (NVHA) is well aware of the significance of the program, and its significance to the health and well-being of Nisga’a citizens. As a result, the NVHA fully supports the program regardless of the deficit it incurs each year, but needs your assistance to help reduce costs.
There are a significant number of Nisga’a citizens who are employed, and work for various entities within the Nass Valley, and in the urban areas such as Terrace, Prince Rupert, and Vancouver. As employees of these entities, people are registered with their company’s health and insurance plans. These plans include health benefits such as vision care and dental care. These are just two examples of what your coverage includes. The Nisga’a Valley Health Authority is kindly requesting that you review your coverage with your employer, and access your organization’s benefits plan first before you contact the Non-Insured Health Benefits program for coverage. You can greatly assist your health organization by making the NIHB the payer of last resort!