The NWT government updated the Métis health benefits policy on Tuesday to “reduce barriers to access supplementary health insurance.”
Applicants will no longer be required to prove they are not eligible for the federal Non-Insured Health Benefits Program to receive coverage under the territory’s Métis health benefits.
Applicants must self-identify as Métis and be a member of an Indigenous government or organization in the NWT that is recognized by the Canadian constitution.
“The updated policy ensure Métis can continue to access non-insured health benefits through appropriate programs,” Minister of Health and Social Services Julie Green said in a statement.
The NWT Métis Nation praised the update in a Facebook post last week. The territorial government said the change will support Indigenous governments and organizations in exercising self-determination.
The benefits program still excludes applicants registered under the Indian Act or Inuit land claim organizations.
The NWT’s Métis Health Benefits Policy allows Métis residents of the NWT to access to benefits not covered by hospital and medical care insurance. The updated program still uses a “payor of last resort” policy, meaning that if other insurance plans are available, they must be used first.
According to the territorial government, the program has not seen any “substantial changes” since it first came into effect in 1995.