Birthing Services

Labour and Delivery – Medical Travel Benefits Q&A


What does the GNWT pay for? What will I get reimbursed for? What’s an eligible expense?

For eligible clients the Northwest Territories Medical Travel Policy provides financial support for meals, accommodation and ground transportation. The level of benefits would be linked to a patient’s income or eligibility for supplementary benefits. For more information on entitlements please contact your benefit administrator.          

Are we enforcing the $400 co-pay in this situation?         

Yes, the copayment is charged to patients eligible under the NT Medical Travel Policy who do not have low household income as described in the policy. Many patients have access to a supplementary health benefit program that pays the copayment on the patient’s behalf. The copayment is only assessed on patient travel, not the travel of an approved non-medical escort.

Low income thresholds are set at an individual income of under $70k a year, $85k for a couple, or $100k for an individual with dependents.

How do I get reimbursed? How long will it take? What do I need to submit? When do I submit it? How do I submit it? What if I’m late? What if I don’t have all my receipts?            

You will need to complete a medical travel expense claim form. The form is available here. Reimbursement can take 4-6 weeks and the form can be submitted via email, mail or fax. It is recommended that you submit your expense claim for reimbursement as soon as your travel is complete. If you are missing documentation or receipts a statutory declaration can also be used. 

What is a “medical travel exception”?    

The Medical Travel Exception Policy makes considerations for eligible clients who are experiencing undue financial hardship or an extraordinary health need based on a unique situation. Exceptions need to be applied for and are considered on a case by case basis. Speak to your medical travel officer about considerations for medical travel exceptions.

The exception request form can be found here: Exception Request Form.


What is the extra baggage allowances on flights?             

The Medical Travel program pays for one bag – requests for additional baggage are considered on a case by case basis.          

How do I travel with a car seat and a stroller?     

Please contact your airline with questions surrounding how to travel with infant items.       

Can I take a taxi to the hospital and get reimbursed?      

Yes – please refer to the medical travel expense claim or your medical travel officer for the latest on reimbursement rates for local transportation.      

Money & Insurance

How much is being provided for accommodations/day?              

The medical travel reimbursement for those who do not have employer benefits and do not qualify for the boarding home or elect to defer the boarding home is $50 per person per day for accommodation.

How much is being provided for food/day?        

The medical travel reimbursement for those who do not have employer benefits and do not qualify for the boarding home or elect to defer the boarding home is $18 per person per day for meals.

How much is being provided for ground transportation?              

Reasonable local ground transportation costs are paid between airport, accommodation, pharmacy and appointments. Intercommunity ground travel in lieu of airfare is reimbursed at the GNWT’s “individual’s convenience rate” ($0.29/km as of Oct. 1, 2021) up to the cost of return commercial airfare for the patient less the copayment.            

What about for people who have to bring their kids?      

No financial assistance is provided, unless approved through the Medical Travel Exceptions Policy, which is assessed case by case. The policy can be found here: NWT Medical Travel Policy.

The exception request form can be found here: Exception Request Form.

Is there additional funding available for people who need extra support (doula, birthworker, etc.) because of the relocation?

There is no additional funding through Medical Travel for this service. There may be options through private insurance or other funding programs.

How long does coverage for travel last?

Benefits are provided until the earliest reasonable travel date following medical clearance.              

Will NTHSSA cover expenses for a non-medical escort if an employer does not? 

No, the Medical Travel Policy does not offer top-ups and would only provide support according to the policy once employer benefits are fully exhausted.             

Employer benefits for patient and spouse – how does this work?

Please reach out to the employer to discuss.         

Once discharged from the hospital am I still covered by medical travel benefits?

Yes – your benefit provider will make arrangements for you to return home on the earliest reasonable travel date.        

Can I get a calling card?

Calling cards are not an eligible expense under the Medical Travel program.            

My doctor indicated GNWT would cover all travel expenses; why is this not the case?     

The GNWT Medical Travel Policy defines the level of benefits provided to eligible clients.

If I catch COVID in Alberta, will I be given an exception to allow me to return home? If not, will my coverage be extended for the duration of my time there? Will Medical Travel still support me during this trip if it’s extended because of COVID?         

Individuals with active COVID19 infections are not allowed to travel commercially – you would need to be cleared by your health care professional prior to returning home. Please consult with your health care team in this situation.

Coverage for extended stays due to being COVID positive would be considered in accordance with the patient’s benefit entitlements. Please reach out to your benefit administrator to discuss further.     

Is there additional coverage available for adverse health situations that are caused because of the increased risk of exposure to COVID related to travel and being in Alberta?          

If another medical issue arises while the patient is on approved medical travel generally benefits continue to be provided.              

Logistics In Edmonton

Will shuttles to/from the hospital be provided? How do people access this service?          

Shuttle services are offered by the boarding home. For those who do not qualify for boarding homes or elect not to stay at the boarding home they would need to coordinate their own travel and seek reimbursement through the medical travel expense claim process.              

What if Larga isn’t available, and a person can’t access other private accommodations? 

Contact your local medical travel office to discuss.            

Non-Medical Escort Policy

What is this a non-medical escort policy?             

The Medical Travel Escort Policy outlines requirements of a non-medical escort and criteria under which a non-medical escort is approved.

Who is included?            

This Policy covers all travelers eligible under the NT Medical Travel Policy

Who is not included?     

Anyone who does not have active NT health care or who has access to a 3rd party or employer benefit.

What if a person must travel with their children and needs extra support (ie: no partner/partner not being able to travel)? Will the GNWT pay for that support?          

The Medical Travel program will not cover these costs. The program will support the travel expenses for one non-medical escort for the patient during their birthing journey, however this escort cannot be a minor child.

Does my escort need to be from my home community?

Not necessarily – for clients who qualify under the NT Medical Travel Policy, return airfare up to the cost of travel from your home community may be supported. For clients who have benefits through an employer or 3rd party please contact your benefit administrator.


How long before we receive a call from Medical Travel?                

Travel arrangements are made in accordance with appointment date – the team strives to coordinate travel with as much notice as possible. If you have concerns, please contact your local medical travel office to discuss.

Who is eligible for medical travel? Is it ONLY people who don’t have other benefits, or is it for all NWT residents?               

Eligibility is restricted to clients who don’t have access to a third party or employer benefit plan and have active NT healthcare. If your employer or third party benefits are fully exhausted due to the duration of your trip, NT Medical Travel benefits would apply at that point if you are eligible.

Is there an after-hours way to contact Medical Travel?                  

Urgent services, which cannot wait until the next business day, are provided from 0700-2300 daily.

For clients residing in the Beaufort region please contact Inuvik Medical Travel at 867-678-8034.

For clients residing in all other regions of the Territory please contact Yellowknife Medical Travel toll free at 1-833-669-4115.


How will the GNWT get children on a plane who haven’t had the chance to get vaccinated, against federal regulations?       

Please contact your air carrier for the most up to date information on unvaccinated travel. You can also view the current rules published by the Federal Government Here