Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) recently announced changes for the upcoming year to it’s out-of-country health care program. This comes as no surprise as the province spent a third of its funding on administration alone without ever providing meaningful travel coverage to Ontarians.
OHIP Travellers Program
The province’s current plan covers a maximum of $400 a day for emergency in-patient services and $50 a day for emergency outpatient services for Ontario residents travelling outside of Canada.
What is changing?
Effective January 1, 2020:
- OHIP will no longer cover emergency health care for Ontarians while travelling abroad.
- Out-of-country dialysis services will remain covered at the current rate of $210 per treatment. However, this coverage will now be part of a new program operated by the Ontario Renal Network.
What is not changing?
Ontario residents will continue to receive coverage for physician and hospital services when visiting or moving to another Canadian province or territory.
For Ontario residents
Before travelling outside of Canada, residents of Ontario are encouraged to verify if they are insured for out-of-country medical emergency through their workplace employee benefits program or credit cards. If not, the appropriate travel insurance coverage should be purchased.
In fact, this is not a new recommendation. Even before the program cuts, OHIP coverage for out-of-country health care was minimal and Ontarians who did not purchase private travel health insurance were sometimes left with catastrophic medical bills to pay.
For residents of other Canadian provinces
While other provinces still provide some sort of out-of-country health care, coverage is limited. Private travel insurance is still highly recommended.
OHIP cuts to its travellers program has received significant media attention across the country. Most employer-sponsored group insurance plans include out-of-country coverage for medical emergencies. Some also include trip cancellation or interruption for medical reasons. This is a good time to communicate and highlight the benefits of this coverage to employees.