Ontario plans to cut OHIP out-of-country health insurance plan

Published: April 25, 2019

Updated: June 3, 2019

Author: Luke Jones

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In an effort to cut provincial debt, the Ontario government has proposed to remove the emergency out-of-country medical coverage.

The proposal has been tabled and Ontarians have until next Tuesday to voice their opinions.

The current Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) is in place to protect people who are out of the country and need inpatient help. Under the fund, Ontarians are provided with a maximum of $400 each day to help increase their level of care. Furthermore, OHIP supplies up to $50 per day for outpatient services, including doctors.

However, the government has now proposed to cut the plan entirely because it still only covers 5% of the cost of out-of-country medical emergency costs. Additionally, the government says consumers are increasingly buying adequate travel insurance coverage.

“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,” the government’s proposal says.

Ontario is $11.7 billion in debt and scrapping OHIP will help to bridge some of that shortfall. Although data from the 2018 auditor general report says Ontario only paid $9 million in out-of-country medical claims during that year.

The plan to scrap the OHIP emergency out-of-country medical coverage is part of the provincial government’s effort to address the province’s $11.7 billion shortfall.

Some politicians have opposed the proposal.

“Without actually having a conversation with the folks who will be affected, who travel overseas or to the south during the winter months … I don’t know how this government can be making this decision at all,” said NDP legislator Marit Stiles.