The Canadian Association of Financial Institutions in Insurance (CAFII) has issued a statement in response to the Ontario government’s decision to end out-of-country emergency services coverage through the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP).
The trade group warned that suddenly discontinuing the OHIP’s out-of-country coverage could leave many Ontarians travelling abroad without coverage – especially if the change is implemented too quickly and is not communicated properly to consumers.
Although the provincial government has set October 01, 2019 as the implementation date to end the out-of-country coverage, CAFII believes more time is needed – at least a one-year transition period. That period would allow the government to undertake a “robust, multi-year communications campaign” to inform Ontarians of the change.
The “transition period” also gives the insurance industry more time to set new premium rates in anticipation of the change and allow more travellers to purchase coverage. Both the government and the insurance industry can also take the opportunity to address the misconception that private insurance is not necessary for travel.
“We believe a robust communications campaign by the Government that supplements what the insurance industry is already doing will be critical in mitigating the risk to the travelling public of this change in insurance coverage,” said CAFII co-executive director Keith Martin. “That communications campaign should emphasize to Ontarians the importance of having travel health insurance in place before travelling outside Canada, so that they and their loved ones will have immediate access to emergency medical care and related assistance, and can avoid exposure to potentially catastrophic and life-altering financial costs.”
The CAFII also warned in its release that, currently, many Ontarians travel outside of Canada without adequate travel health insurance.