Ontario Health Insurance Plan Ends Out of Country Travellers Program
Did you hear the news? As of January 1, 2020, the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) ended its coverage for out of country travellers.
The Out-of-Country Travellers program gave eligible Ontarians up to $50 per day for emergency outpatient services, up to $200 a day for inpatient services and up to $400 per day for any inpatient services that required more intensive care. The program coverage really was quite minimal given the costs of receiving health care abroad, especially in the US, the most popular international destination for Canadians. In the US, an overnight stay in a hospital costs about US$5,000 and an X-ray can run anywhere from US$150 to $3,000 to give a few examples (source: CTV News).
The program essentially covered only about 5% of out of country health care costs.
The Ontario government decided to scrap the program because it was running with a glut of administrative expenses (1/3 of its funding was spent on admin) and the government felt it was not providing meaningful coverage.
Note: The Ontario government will still offer coverage for its residents that need dialysis treatment while out of country (learn more here in this article from the Toronto Sun).
What this means for travel insurance coverage for Ontario residents
With this change, the Ontario government is now strongly recommending that its constituents obtain their own health coverage and travel health insurance policy before leaving the country.
If you were relying on the program, say for short trips to the US, it is now time to look at alternatives and ensure that you have proper coverage in place. The coverage that the program offered was extremely minimal, but it may have given some a false sense of security that they did have some coverage while abroad. This change to the system is a reminder that health care costs outside of Canada can be astronomical and that travellers should have adequate travel insurance coverage in the event of a major health concern or accident.
Looking for travel insurance coverage for your next trip? At Insurance Buddy, we’re all about getting you the best insurance rates. Head over here to get an online quote, or reach out to one of our insurance professionals.
Resources used for this post:
Toronto Sun – OHIP coverage ending for out-of-country travellers
CTV News – How to avoid a massive holiday health care bill when OHIP out-of-country coverage ends
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