First Nations Health Benefits (Plan W)
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Plan W is designed to meet the unique needs of B.C. First Nations.
Plan W covers 100 percent of:
- Eligible prescription costs
- Certain medical supplies
- Certain over-the-counter drugs
- Some natural health products
- Pharmacy services
Plan W is funded by the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA).
You do not need to apply for Plan W. You must be enrolled with FNHA to be covered by Plan W. Call FNHA to enrol. FNHA will confirm your eligibility for the plan.
You are eligible for coverage under the Plan W if you:
- Have active Medical Services Plan (MSP) coverage. To enrol in MSP, contact FNHA
- Are a registered Indian under the Indian Act, or are a child under 2 years who has at least one parent who is a registered Indian under the Indian Act
Some individuals do not qualify for Plan W because they have coverage through other agreements with Canada. These include:
- A treaty and land claims agreement under the Constitution Act, 1982 (Canada) (unless that treaty and land claims agreement has been identified by the provincial Minister of Health as not resulting in ineligibility), or
- A written contribution arrangement between a First Nations organization and a government or province of Canada under which the government provides funding, and which has been identified by the provincial Minister of Health as resulting in ineligibility for enrolment
Your pharmacist submits your prescription claim online, and your BC PharmaCare coverage is applied immediately.
See general coverage policies for information about PharmaCare plans, including Plan W.
Note that FNHA clients are eligible for other PharmaCare plans if they meet the criteria for the plan(s).
To be eligible for coverage for many over-the counter (OTC) medications (PDF, 755KB), you will need a prescription from your:
- Nurse practitioner, or
- A recommendation from your pharmacist
For all covered OTCs, your pharmacist must submit a claim to PharmaCare at the time of purchase.
PharmaCare covers the following medical supplies and equipment for all eligible beneficiaries:
- Blood glucose test strips (annual quantity limits apply)
- Needles and syringes for diabetics who inject insulin
- Insulin for diabetics who require it
- Ostomy supplies for patients who have undergone ostomy surgery and require an external pouch
Some supplies and equipment are covered only under specific medical conditions. Your prescriber must submit a Special Authority request for the following items to be fully covered under Plan W:
- Insulin pumps for diabetic patients who require insulin
- Insulin pump supplies for diabetic patients with an insulin pump
- Continuous glucose monitor
For Plan W only, PharmaCare also covers over-the-counter supplies at their retail price up to a certain maximum, with no dispensing fee:
- Blood and urine ketone strips
- Alcohol wipes/pads
- Needles and syringes (not restricted to those for insulin injection)
- Inhaler spacers
- Intrauterine Devices (IUDs)
Medical supplies and equipment benefits that need require prior authorization from the FNHA are administered by Pacific Blue Cross. See the list of FNHA MS&E benefits.
PharmaCare is a provincial (B.C.) drug program, so Plan W cannot automatically cover drug purchases made outside the province. We recommend you get the maximum amount of medication under the PharmaCare Travel Supply Policy before you leave B.C.
If you must purchase medication in another province, you will need to send an Out-of-Province Claim (PDF, 91.7KB) to PharmaCare with your original pharmacy receipt.
Don’t have the original pharmacy receipt? You can request an official duplicate from the pharmacy. Note that till receipts or photocopies cannot be accepted.
Some pharmacies located on the B.C. border are enrolled in BC PharmaCare. Although these border pharmacies cannot submit your claim for immediate online adjudication, they can submit a paper claim to PharmaCare on your behalf.
Please check with the pharmacy before you fill your prescription.
Whether you purchase an OTC medication or a device at a B.C. pharmacy or an out-of-province pharmacy, it must be processed as a prescription. For out-of-province purchases, this means you will need an official prescription receipt that you can submit to PharmaCare for reimbursement.
Questions about PharmaCare? Contact us. We provide interpreter services in over 140 languages.