Changes to OHIP coverage is a good reason to look at travel insurance

TORONTO – For those planning a sunny getaway, it may be more important than ever this winter to pack the right travel insurance before departure.

Ontario’s provincial health coverage for most types of out-of-country medical expenses will end as of Jan. 1.

That may not be top-of-mind for most people but it’s a reason for them to take a fresh look at their insurance needs, regardless of what part of Canada is their home.

“If you’re planning travel over the winter break, or planning things into March Break potentially, start factoring in travel medical insurance _ not as a last-minute add-on,” says Elliott Silverstein, speaking for CAA Insurance.

“You may think you’re covered, but are you fully covered or just have partial coverage?”

Even before OHIP’s Out-of-Country Travellers Program ends on Dec. 31, it paid a maximum of only $400 per day.

While it’s difficult to predict actual costs, various sources say U.S. hospitals routinely charge thousands of dollars for a visit to the emergency room or thousands of dollars per day for a longer stay.

“So the amounts (from OHIP) were so small . . . that some people were mistaken in thinking they didn’t need travel medical insurance,” says Will McAleer for the Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada.

McAleer says that while other provinces haven’t announced plans to follow Ontario’s lead, no Canadian public health insurance provides “near the type of coverage required for a trip outside of the country.”

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