Department of Health and Social Services Announces Changes to the Medical Travel Program

Public Service Announcement

Yellowknife — April 25, 2019

The Department of Health and Social Services announces changes to the Medical Travel Program effective June 1, 2019. NWT residents have access to one of the most generous medical travel programs in Canada, which has remained relatively unchanged since 1995. To bring the cost-share of medical travel costs into alignment with current travel costs of the Medical Travel Program, adjustment to the co-payment rate is being made.


Co-payment fees are essentially a deductible or cost-share for travel costs when NWT residents are required to travel to access insured health services not available in the residents’ home community.


The increase to medical travel co-payment will go from $125 to $200 per one way trip The increase to the co-payment fee will only affect NWT residents who:


  • Do not have medical travel benefits through an insurance plan; and
  • Do not meet the definition of low income in the Eligibility Criteria Policy.


To coincide with the increase rate of medical travel co-payment, the department has expanded the low income threshold in the Eligibility Criteria Policy to acknowledge different family compositions and living circumstances. The new definition will decrease the number of people who may have to contribute a co-payment.  The low income threshold is now defined as:


  • Individuals with an income of $70,000 a year or less.
  • Individuals who are married or common-law with a combined income of $85,000 a year or less.
  • Individuals with one or more minor children living with their household with a combined income of $100,000 a year or less.

A new Exceptions Policy is also being implemented to provide a formal process to consider exceptional circumstances of individual cases. The new policy delegates authority to the Director of Medical Insurance to consider flexible solutions. This change will provide improved timeliness, responsiveness and allow for more client centred service delivery within the administration of the Medical Travel Program.


Related links:


Medical Travel Policy


For more information contact:

Damien Healy
Manager, Communications
Department of Health and Social Services
Tel:  (867) 767-9052 (Ext. 49034)