OHIP Out-of-Country Travellers Program Has Ended. Travel Insurance is Needed

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Do you live in Ontario? If you do, remember that when you travel outside Canada, your provincial healthcare program (OHIP) no longer covers you on your trip.

Are you making plans to go to Mexico? Do you have that all-inclusive vacation booked to Cuba or the Dominican Republic? Or maybe this is the year for that long-planned trip to the United Kingdom?

Whatever your travel plans, make sure to plan your travel insurance — especially if you live in Ontario.

On December 31, 2019, the OHIP Out-of-Country Travellers Program ended

Ontarians travelling abroad have always been encouraged to purchase the appropriate travel insurance coverage in case emergency health and doctor services are needed out of country. The good news is that many who travel out of country do have some form of travel insurance. The bad news is, some don’t — and now it’s more important than ever that they do.

Beginning January 1, 2020, OHIP no longer covers or provides reimbursement for any part of your emergency out-of-country health and/or doctor medical costs. You can read more here.

Why do you need travel insurance?

If you have a medical emergency when you are out of the country visiting family, on business or on vacation, you will be faced with paying the cost of care — regardless of the severity of your situation.

Even one simple outpatient visit to a U.S. emergency room may cost thousands of dollars. Here are some examples that may surprise you.

Paying out of pocket for hospital and doctors’ charges in other countries (not only the U.S.) can be the dire consequence of becoming ill or suffering an accident (even a minor one) while away from home. That’s why travelling uninsured is a risk you don’t want to take.

What kind of travel insurance do you need?

Ontarians travelling abroad are always encouraged to purchase the appropriate travel insurance coverage — but what does that mean? The first thing to understand is that all coverage is not equal.

Even if you have some travel health insurance through your workplace plan or credit cards, the first step is to take the time to review and understand any requirements, conditions and exclusions. Does it cover you for the duration of your trip (especially if you plan on being away for over a week)? Does it cover emergency medical needs, or only trip cancellation and baggage loss?

Get the details! Smart travellers ensure that their travel insurance covers

  • Hospitalization or doctor visits while abroad
  • Ambulance service, including land, water, or air transportation to and from places of treatment for an illness or injury
  • Medical evacuation to Canada or the nearest place with appropriate care, as well as the cost of a medical escort
  • Your pre-existing condition (few insurers will put this in writing, so be certain to record the date and name of the person you spoke with if you are advised verbally) and what limitations or restrictions there are around your current health situation
  • People over age 65
  • Preparation of your remains and repatriation to Canada in case of death.

How do you get the travel insurance you need?

Fortunately, SBIS offers a wide range of travel insurance options that are sophisticated and varied enough to cover anyone whose doctor allows them to travel. Some travellers will have to provide detailed information about their health, but many will not.

We can help you put in place coverage that fits both your budget and your needs based on your age, medical history, the medications you take, your travel destination, your lifestyle and your frequency of travel.

Make your plans with us today

At SBIS we cover Ontarians (and all Canadian travellers) with travel medical insurance and non-medical travel insurance such as trip cancellation, trip interruption, and loss of baggage, worldwide. To put your travel insurance plan in place, start by going online, get in touch with us by email or give us a call at 1-800-667-0429 Monday to Friday, 8:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. ET. We’re ready to help.


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