OHIP Changes Take Effect Jan 1st. Get Your Travel Insurance!

by Daniel Nikulin
woman filling out a travel insurance questionnaire

OHIP? Oh no! 

If you are an Ontario resident planning to travel abroad in the new year and are relying on your OHIP coverage to reimburse any unforeseen medical expenses incurred while away, listen up. 

Effective January 1st, 2020, your Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) will no longer cover out-of-country medical expenses*. 

As it is (up until December 31st, 2019), OHIP’s Out-of-Country Travellers Program is very limited and isn’t recommended to be the sole medical insurer for any trip, covering only up to $400 per day for emergency in-patient services and up to $50 per day for emergency outpatient and doctor services. Actual fees for such services run much higher, especially in the U.S., where hospital fees are double those of most developed countries. 

While some travellers relied on OHIP, a travel insurance policy provided by their employer or limited medical coverage offered by their credit card company, smart travellers always purchased additional travel insurance over and beyond the above coverage and specific to their trip. 

Still think you don’t need travel insurance?

frustrated traveller sitting in the airport with her luggage

What the government plan never covered was Trip Cancellation (reimbursement of travel costs if cancelling a trip due to illness), Trip Interruption (costs if needing to unexpectedly return to Canada due to illness), or Baggage (due to loss or delay of luggage). Travel insurance plans sold by travel agents can cover all of the above, in addition to comprehensive (up to $5 million) Medical coverage while away. The nominal premiums for the above plans (also sold in a package) are just a small fraction of the expenses you’d quickly accrue if needing care abroad – especially south of the border.

Unfortunately, too many Canadians know how expensive it can be to seek medical care outside of Canada. In the U.S., an ambulance ride can cost $500 and up. A visit to the emergency room can cost anywhere from  $150 to $3,000. A hospital stay is $5,000 per day, and even an X-ray can be anywhere from $150 to $3,000. Fractured a hip? Expect to be charged $13,000 to $40,000!


* A new Ontario program will provide kidney dialysis patients with $210 toward each treatment (actual prices range from $300 to $750). Besides dialysis, Ontario travellers will be responsible for covering everything else.


Purchasing travel insurance to cover both your health and the cost of your trip has never been more important. To get a quote or to insure your upcoming trip, speak to one of our Expert Travellers today.