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6 months ago · by · 0 comments

Traveling Responsibly – A Travelers Guide to OHIP

Traveling can produce some of the most enlightening experiences. Seeing how other people around the world carry on their day to day life humbles the mind while exotic locations calm the soul. We live busy lives and it’s cold in winter.

Plus, there’s a lot to see out there

We’re fortunate as Canadians in that we have the means not only to travel but to travel safely. Those of us who do travel should travel safely. We’re used to having at least basic public healthcare as a right here in Ontario but it’s not like that everywhere. While abroad, it’s important you understand how to deal with medical emergencies and healthcare. Have the means.    

If you have valid Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) coverage and you leave the country, you have some coverage but it limited. They will reimburse $50 per day for outpatient healthcare billing (the doctor) and a maximum of $400 per day of inpatient care (hospitalization), regardless of the severity of the situation and only for a limited period of time. It certainly would not have the authority of either private health insurance or a wad of cash in a foreign hospital. Some places are generous, others aren’t.    

It’s not advisable to rely on OHIP while abroad

If you have valid OHIP, travel health insurance is generally less expensive because you can always be taken back home for care. It’s also easier to get pre-existing medical conditions covered. If you don’t have valid OHIP and are staying abroad, you would need expatriate health insurance. If you’re emigrating then you would also have public and private health insurance options in your country of immigration.

It’s advisable to try to keep your OHIP coverage if you’re not emigrating and if you can. Pre-existing health conditions are more easily covered and prices are generally lower with traditional travel health insurance.

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In order to maintain your OHIP coverage, you can’t leave the province for more than 212 days in any 365 day period unless you have lived in the province for at least 153 days the two years prior. In the event that you have, OHIP validity will maintain for two years. You should start looking at expat health insurance only when you are in your second year abroad.

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If your returning to your home province from expatriation to make Ontario your residence again, and you have lost your OHIP coverage, you will be required to wait 3 months to regain coverage. The same applies if you are immigrating to Ontario. You can get private health insurance to bridge that 3 months. Private health insurance will cover you for emergency care, hospitalization, paramedical coverage, prescription care and some dental treatment. It’s typically referred to as visitors to Canada health insurance but it’s not just for visitors.

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Step 1 of 2

It’s important that when looking at private health insurance that do business with a provincially licensed broker. You should also look at plans from many different companies. A good broker will typically be able to send you price quotes from many different insurance companies all at once at no extra charge. Ask about exclusion clauses in the policy to consider how they may apply to you. If concerned, examine policy wording as again, a good broker should be able to provide.

In order for traveling to be a positive experience, it’s wise to cover the important bases prior to leaving. No traveler wants to deal with anything as serious as finances in a health emergency. Take care of yourself.   

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Ensure that your child gets the best treatment

Critical illness insurance can make it financially viable to travel for world leading healthcare for your child

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