SNOWBIRDS OPPOSE ONTARIO’S PLAN TO ELIMINATE OUT-OF-COUNTRY MEDICAL COVERAGE
Toronto – The Canadian Snowbird Association (CSA) announced Wednesday their opposition to the Ontario government’s proposal to terminate OHIP’s Out-of-Country (OOC) Travellers Program. The program currently reimburses Ontario residents travelling outside of Canada between $200 and $400 per day for emergency inpatient services and up to $50 per day for emergency outpatient services. The Ontario government’s plan is scheduled to come into effect on October 1, 2019.
While travel medical insurance remains a necessity for all Ontarians travelling abroad, terminating out-of-country emergency medical coverage will ultimately increase premiums for private travel medical insurance coverage. This will not only impact the snowbird community who travel south during the winter months, but it will also affect cross-border shoppers and Ontarians planning family vacations.
“We urge the Ontario government to maintain OHIP’s Out-of-Country Travellers Program, which has helped countless travellers faced with unexpected medical emergencies while abroad.“ said Karen Huestis, president of the Canadian Snowbird Association. “We estimate that this proposal will increase travel medical insurance premiums in the province by 7.5%.”
Every province and territory in Canada provides reimbursement to residents who require emergency medical assistance while travelling outside of the country. Under the portability provision of the Canada Health Act, government health insurance plans are required to provide reimbursement for out-of-country emergencies at in-province rates. The Ontario government’s move to scrap all emergency reimbursement for travellers is unprecedented and will further burden residents with increased insurance costs.
The Canadian Snowbird Association is an over 110,000 member, non-profit, non-partisan organization representing Canadian travellers from across the country. The CSA works in partnership with government and business to educate and advocate on behalf of all travelling Canadians, helping to ensure access to safe, healthy travel with no restrictions on freedom of movement.