Ontarians can enjoy travelling while knowing they can be backed by health coverage if anything bad were to happen, but that may change very soon.

A new Ontario Government proposal would completely cut OHIP for anyone travelling out of the country who finds themselves in a medical emergency. The proposal says, “The Ministry of Health and Long Term Care is proposing to amend Regulation 552 under the Health Insurance Act to end the Ontario Health Insurance Program coverage for emergency services (arising while outside the country) for Ontarians travelling outside of Canada.”

The regulation as of today gives travellers up to $400/per day if they are in need of medical care outside of Canada. Reimbursement thresholds include:

  • up to $400/day for operations/ICU stays, or other high levels of care
  • up to $200/day for any other care
  • $50/day for outpatient services
  • $210 for renal dialysis

With the government’s new proposal, this would all be gone. Anyone travelling outside of Canada will not have any coverage unless they buy their own private travel insurance. A process which has different costs depending on where you’re going and the level of coverage you want to buy.

Travel insurance is the main reason why the Ontario Government is getting rid of OHIP coverage. The government issued a statement saying: “This change will have no impact on 99.5% of Ontarians. OHIP data suggests, of those 40,000 Ontarians who do travel outside of Canada each year and require health services, over 90% obtain private travel health insurance.”

Those who do not get traveller’s insurance and end up in an unexpected medical emergency would be “left with catastrophically large bills to pay because of OOC [out-of-country] emergency medical care,” according to the government. The proposal is to “restore accountability and trust in the use of taxpayer dollars and to bring greater modernization, efficiency and transparency to OHIP to benefit both providers and patients.”

Should the new proposal be approved, all OHIP coverage would be gone for anyone travelling abroad starting October 1, 2019. However, Ontarians travelling to other provinces would still get coverage.

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