OHIP out-of-country coverage cancelled

Ontario residents have lost most of their out-of-country coverage through the Ontario Hospital Insurance Plan (OHIP). Effective January 1, 2020, Ontario residents have lost most of their out-of-country coverage through the Ontario Hospital Insurance Plan (OHIP) except for dialysis services.

Posted on January 5, 2020 | Updated on January 14, 2024

Ontario cancels out-of-country coverage

Originally announced in May 2019, the Ford government says that the program is inefficient, does little in the way of providing coverage, and is a waste of taxpayers’ money.

  • The maximum coverage is only $400 for inpatient treatments with an additional $50 per day for emergency outpatient services.
  • The program only paid out $.05 for every dollar claimed.
  • Administration of the program cost taxpayers $2.8 million a year with only $9 million in coverage delivered. Although numbers were not provided, the reimbursement rate is low compared to users’ actual medical bills.

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The Canadian Snowbird Association (CSA) is a non-profit organization that defends the rights and privileges of Canadian travellers. The CSA represents 50,000 Ontario residents with a total membership of 115,000 across Canada. The CSA has filed a legal challenge to delay the changes so a court can rule on their legality and says out-of-country emergency medical care is enshrined in the Canada Health Act (CHA). Under the CHA, portability is one of the five pillars, and residents temporarily away from their home province or territory or Canada must have health coverage during their absence.

What does this mean for consumers?

Evan Rachkovsky with the Canadian Snowbird Association estimates travel insurance premiums may increase by as much as 7.5 percent but it is unclear where this figure came from. If the travel insurance industry sees an increase in costs and a hit to their bottom line, they will increase travel insurance premiums. It is also possible that $9 million of OHIP payouts spread across the travel insurance industry will have a negligible effect on premiums.

The Ford government believes that cancelling out-of-country coverage will be beneficial as travellers will now have to purchase travel insurance and have proper health coverage where they did not under OHIP. However, it is not known how many of those people will purchase travel insurance. Some may not care and others may not even know that they have lost what little coverage they had with OHIP.

National Post – Snowbirds file challenge against cuts to Ontario government travel insurance

CBC Canada – Price hikes feared as province scraps OHIP out-of-country coverage

Newswire – Snowbirds Launch Legal Challenge Against OHIP Cuts

Canadian Snowbird Association – Snowbirds Launch Legal Challenge Against OHIP Cuts

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