Ontario may cut OHIP travel coverage due to high administration costs

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Ontario Deputy Premier Christine Elliott talks with journalists following Question Period at the Ontario Legislature in Toronto on Wednesday, August 1, 2018. Elliott says a large ad campaign urging Toronto residents to be wary of vaccinations is "very concerning." THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

TORONTO: Ontario is considering ending a government-run travel insurance program that partly covers the cost of emergency health services abroad.

A spokeswoman for Health Minister Christine Elliott says the government is reviewing OHIP’s Out-of-Country Traveller’s Program as part of efforts to address the province’s $11.7 billion deficit.

The program currently covers out-of-country inpatient services to a maximum of $400 per day for a higher level of care, such as intensive care, as well up to $50 per day for emergency outpatient services, and doctor services.

The government says the program offers limited travel insurance coverage and encourages people to purchase additional travel insurance when they go abroad.

The province spends $2.8 million to administer approximately $9 million in claim payments through the program every year, something highlighted by Ontario’s Auditor General in her 2018 annual report.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford makes an announcement at Queen’s Park in Toronto, on Friday, July 27, 2018. Ford says he will significantly reduce the number of Toronto city councillors just months before the fall municipal election.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

The government says it will accept public feedback until April 30 on its proposal to end the program and the change could come into effect Oct. 1 if the government moves forward with the change.