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Canada Out of province OHIP cut has Windsor-Essex travellers worried

17:02  05 december  2019
17:02  05 december  2019 Source:   cbc.ca

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Travelling out - of - province ? Most travellers know just how important purchasing travel insurance is, and the savvier sightseers among us may even know the That’s because many Ontarians wrongly assume that our provincial health insurance plan , OHIP , will cover all unexpected medical costs

Health coverage changes could be on the horizon for Ontarians who travel outside of Canada. The Ford government is proposing to end OHIP coverage when Ontarians go outside of Canada. It says the PCs want to end the Out of Country Travellers Program run by OHIP .

Windsorites are able to Detroit so easily that many don't think of obtaining out-of-province health insurance.

At the moment, Ontario's OHIP insurance system covers $400-per-day for out-of-province inpatient treatments, with an additional $50-per-day for emergency outpatient and doctor services.

But that's set to change on Jan. 1, 2020, when only kidney dialysis will be covered up to a maximum of $210-per-day.

Dina Mejalli, a partner at the Greg Monforton and Partners law firm who has helped Windsor clients obtain legal representation in the U.S. in liabilty claims due to accidents, said out-of-province health care costs can be astronomical.

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The province published the proposal to end OHIP 's out - of -country medical coverage on its "We urge the Ontario government to maintain OHIP 's Out - of -Country Travellers Program, which has helped NDP legislator Marit Stiles called the cut "disturbing" and accused the government of attempting to

The Ontario government is looking at eliminating some OHIP coverage for Ontarians travelling outside of Canada “This change will have no impact on 99.5% of Ontarians,” the documents says. At issue is not general OHIP coverage but the Out - of -Country Travellers Program, which covers acute and

Mejalli said many snowbirds have lost their company benefits and now rely on private insurers.

"And so their fear now is their premiums are going to increase because the Ontario government is cutting their minimal provision of benefits," said Mejalli.

Windsor residents Martha and Dennis Willis live in Fort Myers, Fla. during the winter months. They lost their out-of-province benefits through their General Motors pensions, and now they're worried their private insurance premiums will increase with the loss of OHIP coverage.

a man and woman posing for a photo: Martha and Dennis Willis winter in Fort Myers, Fla. They're worried their private insurance premiums will increase with the loss of OHIP coverage.© Provided by cbc.ca Martha and Dennis Willis winter in Fort Myers, Fla. They're worried their private insurance premiums will increase with the loss of OHIP coverage.

"Even travel in general is expensive. So now add the cost of out-of-province coverage on it and everything else that's going to impact not even snowbirds but everybody I think," said Martha Willis, from her home in Florida.

OHIP ending coverage for travellers to other countries

  OHIP ending coverage for travellers to other countries Coverage was always minimal at best, but Windsor-area travellers to the U.S. and other nations should be made aware the Ontario government is ending its “out-of-country travellers” program under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) starting on Jan. 1. “The program, which spends a third of its funding on administration alone, has not historically provided Ontarians with meaningful travel coverage,” said David Jensen, spokesman for Ontario’s health ministry. “Furthermore, the program’s coverage is very limited with five cents of every dollar claimed.” A majority of local travellers, especially to the U.S.

A prudent traveller should take out private insurance just in case she falls ill or has an accident. It says it’s acting on recommendations from, among others, the provincial auditor general. But in her report last year, AG Bonnie Lysyk did not suggest ending out - of -country OHIP coverage.

Ontario is trying to tackle a huge increase in out - of - province visits covered by public health insurance over the last decade, Health Minister Deb Matthews said "There has been a dramatic increase in out - of -country health care provided and covered through OHIP ," she told the legislature.

Sarah Hupalo, a travel agent with Goliger's Travel Plus, said approximately $60 or $70 gets you one years' worth of travel insurance at her organization. She said the price of the insurance sold by her company won't increase because of the OHIP cut.

"Anything can happen and it's very expensive. A 15-minute ambulance ride can be $10,000," said Hupalo.

Waseem Jarjis is a law student at the University of Windsor who is enrolled in a joint program with the University of Detroit Mercy. He travels back and forth regularly, and thinks he might be covered under the Detroit university but isn't certain.

"It might be nice to check my coverage now that these changes are coming about and see what I would have to do in that situation," said Jarjis.

a person sitting at a desk with a laptop computer: Medical treatment in the U.S. can cost thousands of dollars.© Provided by cbc.ca Medical treatment in the U.S. can cost thousands of dollars.

Windsor Regional Hospital sees more than 20 people each year who have come back from the U.S. after needing medical treatment there.

They believe American hospitals will discharge Canadians more quickly now that some OHIP coverage is drying up.

"Sometimes we find that insurance companies will exhaust the service in the US, so I think now with the changes that will be impacting the people of Ontario I think we will see patients needing to come back sooner," said Dr. Gina Bulcke, director of organizational effectiveness at Windsor Regional Hospital.

The province has already urged residents to get additional coverage sooner rather than later, because service costs covered by OHIP pays for services in the U.S. isn't usually enough.

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