Wondering how the proposed OHIP changes will impact your coverage when you travel outside of Canada? Here's what you need to know about the potential upcoming out-of-country medical insurance changes and what you should do to protect your family and finances.
This article originally appeared on Discover & Learn on January 14, 2020.
Are you an Ontario resident who travels outside of Canada? If so, you might have questions about the planned changes to the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP).
As of October 1, 2019, OHIP will no longer cover Ontario travellers facing emergency medical expenses outside of Canada.
Q1. What does OHIP currently cover for out of country travel?
A. Ontarians covered by OHIP currently qualify for limited medical benefits while travelling outside of Canada. If you are travelling before October 1, 2019 your coverage includes in-patient and out-patient services for emergency medical situations that arise while you are out of the country.
Existing OHIP out-of-country in-patient services include:
- Up to $400 per day for high levels of care such as admission and treatment in an Intensive Care Unit, Coronary Care Unit, Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, or operating room services.
- Up to $200 per day for any other level of care.
Existing OHIP out-of-country out-patient services include:
- Up to $50 per day for out-patient services such as an emergency room visit, MRI or CT scan.
- Up to $25 per day for a doctor’s visit.
Q2. How much would OHIP have helped in an emergency situation outside of Canada?
A. The average emergency room visit in the U.S. costs $2,506 CAD per day, according to the Health Care Cost Institute.
According to a recent CBC news report, U.S. hospitals charge 10 to 15 times the amounts currently covered by OHIP Out of Country Services. The cost of treatments will differ depending on the type of emergency.
Q3. Will the OHIP change have a large effect on snowbirds?
A.Possibly. Snowbirds with private health insurance should check to see what coverage is included in their policy when they are outside Canada.
If you’re 65 or older and need out-of-country medical coverage, look for insurers that offer a streamlined process to simplify your out-of-country medical insurance application.
Q4. Does the travel insurance on my credit card cover me?
A. Some credit cards offer out-of-country medical insurance. But there are often restrictions. Your credit card’s emergency medical insurance might only be valid for a certain number of days within a specified period. This may leave you without coverage if you take an extended trip. Be sure to review the term and conditions of your insurance policy or speak to your credit card company to confirm coverage.
Q5. Will my employer benefits cover me when I travel?
A. Many Canadians have some out-of-country coverage through their employer benefits. However, this might include restrictions such as limitations on days, number of family members covered and the total coverage amount. Check your benefits plan or contact your plan administrator to find out exactly how much travel insurance you have.
Q6. How do I make sure I’m covered when I travel?
A. The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care advises all residents to get out-of-country medical travel insurance. This may protect you from potentially devastating medical costs.
This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.