What the “O” in OHIP Really Means

We take for granted that our Ontario health card (or “OHIP”) covers many of our medical expenses here in Ontario. But what kind of coverage does it get us in other Canadian provinces?

We all put travel insurance on our list when we’re heading to an exotic locale. Most of us think of it if we’re heading to the U.S. But within Canada? We typically assume there’s no need.

Many Ontarians are surprised that they may not have OHIP coverage across Canada.

You should definitely carry your health card with you and be prepared to show it. Be aware, though, that OHIP may not provide you with the coverage in other provinces that it does at home.

Here are 3 tips to help you travel with confidence across Canada.

Tip 1: Check your OHIP card before you go.

Check that your card hasn’t expired (and won’t expire while you’re away). If you’ve moved, make sure your address is correct on your card.

Tip 2: What happens if you need medical assistance while you’re away?

For the most part, any medical costs that you incur while you are away will need to be paid upfront or it could be covered by your insurance provider.

You may be covered by OHIP for:

  • Appointments with a doctor or walk-in clinic
  • A hospital visit

You may not be covered by OHIP for:

  • Ambulance services
  • Prescription drugs, other than at the hospital
  • Diagnostic/lab services other than if you’re at the hospital

And OHIP likely won’t cover longer-term care or devices and procedures that they don’t cover while in Ontario.

Tip 3: If you’re paying out-of-pocket for out-of-province medical expenses, OHIP may help.

You may have to pay for services on-site while you’re away, even if you show your card, as a doctor may charge you up-front.

If this happens, you can make a claim for OHIP to reimburse you, but note that you can only do so within 12 months of your treatment. OHIP has an Out-of-Province/Country Claims Submission form you can use. It is available with instructions online at Ontario.ca.

OHIP recommends you get travel insurance for out-of-province travel.

It is important that while travelling you have adequate coverage — and it’s not just insurance providers recommending additional coverage; OHIP recommends it too.

Have benefits through work? Check with your benefits administrator. You may have out-of-province coverage as part of your plan, but make sure it meets your travel requirements. For example:

  • How many days per year are you covered for?
  • Does it cover family members too?

If you’re exploring Canada sometime soon, make sure to check your coverage so you can concentrate on enjoying your trip.

Information posted here is accurate and current to the best of our knowledge as of the date of this article.  The content in this article is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice or an opinion of any kind.