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Non-Insured Health Benefits – Pandemic Update

Updated: Mar 31, 2020

Important notice: COVID-19 Pandemic Updates

Medical Supplies and Equipment benefit:

NIHB is waiving testing requirements for renewals for home oxygen until June 30, 2020; any assessments can be done by providers by phone. Initial claims still need testing. Read full letter from Indigenous Services Canada here: NIHB – MSE Oxygen COVID19Download

Pharmacy Benefit:

NIHB is temporarily opening up some drugs on limited use to open benefit, pharmacies can submit claims as open benefit and does not need prior approval. Read full letter from Indigenous Services Canada here: NIHB – Prior Approval of NIHB PharmacyDownload


The NIHB program is continuing to provide benefits and services while following public health guidance and recommendations from health professionals as the situation evolves.

The NIHB Drug Exception Centre, Dental Predetermination Centre and regional call centres continue to operate and receive calls from providers and clients. Please note that wait times may be longer than usual, and we appreciate your patience.

The NIHB program normally covers up to a 100-day supply of chronic medications. In determining the quantity to refill for clients, pharmacists will consider advice from professional associations and regulatory bodies, as well as patient-specific factors. If a client is seeking an early refill (before 2/3 of their medications are used), the pharmacist may submit the claim with an over-ride code, and NIHB will reimburse. However, it is the pharmacist’s decision to provide early or longer refills.

NIHB clients are encouraged to consult with their health or benefit service provider to confirm whether routine, non-urgent appointments should be postponed.

Dental professional organizations across Canada have advised that non-emergency services should be postponed. Call your dental provider’s office to see if any scheduled dental appointments have been cancelled.

You may contact your mental health service provider to confirm whether they can provide counselling services via telephone (tele-mental health services by eligible providers are covered by the NIHB program).

NIHB is continuing to support clients who need medical transportation benefits to access urgent or essential medical services. Vulnerable clients will be supported by prioritizing private modes of transport. Additional guidance has also been provided to support external service providers (such as boarding homes and airlines) for infection prevention/control.

As the situation evolves, information will be provided through NIHB call centres and posted online.

For the latest information on COVID-19 guidance:

  1. FAQ: COVID-19 Preparedness and Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) Coverage

  2. Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Indigenous communities

  3. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

View full NIHB Program Update Client Information Bulletin here:

NIHB Program Update – COVID19 March 2020Download

French NIHB Program Update = COVID19 March 2020Download

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