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Changes to OHIP coverage and travel in 2020

As of January 1, 2020, the Ontario government no longer covers emergency healthcare expenses under OHIP when Ontario residents travel out of the country. You still have some coverage for travel to other provinces and territories within Canada, but not when you’re abroad.

Let’s review how the changes to OHIP regulations will impact you when you travel and what you should also know about OHIP coverage when visiting other Canadian provinces.

When travelling outside Canada, travel insurance is now essential

While OHIP used to cover some healthcare services outside of Canada, all medical costs will now be your responsibility if you fall sick or are involved in an accident while you are abroad – unless, of course, you have private travel insurance.

And as you may already know, healthcare costs can add up surprisingly quickly when you don’t have insurance, even for minor ailments such as rashes or bladder infections. Medical emergencies can also involve an array of unexpected additional costs, such as private round-the-clock nursing, emergency dental work or repatriation to your province of residence.

For those who need renal dialysis when they travel, the good news is that OHIP is partnering with the Ontario Renal Network to provide coverage up to $210 per treatment when travelling outside the country. This amount is limited to that condition and any other emergency expenses would be at the traveller’s expense.

Travel insurance is also a must have for trips within Canada

Many Ontario residents may be under the impression that OHIP has them fully covered when they travel across Canada. Unfortunately, that’s not exactly the case. Within Canada, you are only covered for services mandated by the Canada Health Act, which are:

  • Hospital services provided to in-patients or out-patients, if the services are medically necessary to maintain health, prevent disease or diagnose or treat an injury, an illness, or a disability.
  • Medically required physician services rendered by medical practitioners.

In case of a medical emergency, you may have to pay for various necessary medical services out of pocket, such as:

  • Ambulatory services
  • Repatriation to the province of residence
  • Prescription drugs
  • Emergency dental care services
  • Specialized services such as physiotherapy, chiropractic and osteopathy

With Blue Cross® travel insurance, you are covered for these services if they are required as part of an emergency treatment. 

Making sure you’re covered

Travel insurance is not only a smart decision to protect your finances, but also for your well-being, health and safety. You may be surprised to know that many clinics or hospitals could decline to provide treatment to you if you don’t have proof of insurance or the means to pay for your treatment up front.

That’s why you should make sure you have the right coverage that fits your budget, your travel plans, the destinations you visit and your health conditions before you leave for your trip.

Here are some tips for choosing the perfect plan to protect yourself and your family:

  • If you have group travel insurance through your employer or a professional association, or coverage through your credit card, read your policy to see what’s included and, most importantly, what’s not. Often, these benefits include limitations that may not fit your travel plans.
  • When you purchase private travel insurance, don’t just compare the price: carefully check the coverage amounts, the limitations and the benefits as well as the services included with each plan.
  • Ask yourself what sort of additional coverage you and your family might need to ensure you are fully protected. You can also personalize your coverage to include benefits that cover you in case of:
    • Trip cancellation or interruption due to circumstances outside of your control
    • Baggage loss or theft
    • Accidental death or dismemberment

Ontario Blue Cross® offers a wide range of plans to choose from. Whether you are a frequent traveller requiring multi-trip travel insurance or are simply looking for single-trip coverage, we have a solution for you.

To become a pro at choosing insurance, check out the 9 most common mistakes people make when they are buying travel insurance.

Purchasing private travel insurance is the best way to ensure that you travel with peace of mind. Should an emergency arise, you’re well protected. Recognized worldwide, Ontario Blue Cross travel insurance provides many features to support you at every step of your trip, whatever the emergency. Learn more about our plans.

Joseph Russo

Director of Sales and Business Development, Travel Insurance