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Controversy around the withdrawal of the health insurance for Ontarians travelling abroad


Aurélia Morvan

June 14, 2019 09:30

It raises questions, the decision of the government of Ontario would no longer cover the health costs of Ontarians travelling abroad. France Gélinas, mpp, ontario New democratic party (NDP) and spokesperson of the opposition in the area of health, the denounced and pointed out its consequences.

The one who is also chief Whip of the opposition ahead of the problem that this decision posed for people with chronic renal failure treated by hemodialysis. To date, the insurance Plan Ontario health (OHIP), the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ), ontario, reimburses $ 210 per treatment performed abroad, patients have to receive several per week. This will not be the case as of October 1, 2019.

According to the canadian Registry of insufficiencies and organ transplants (CORR), 9 532 Ontarians whose kidneys were not working were treated by hemodialysis in Ontario, in 2017. “For those people, provincial health insurance is often the only insurance they can get” to cover the costs of their haemodialysis received abroad, ” said Ms. Gélinas, in interview to the Newspaper of insurance. No patient can bring his machine around with him. It would have to be accompanied by four big movers for the do. “However, some people dialysis do not have the choice to travel, whether for study, work or visit their family.

The insurers to the rescue ?

Christine Elliott, minister of ontario Health and long-term Care, has been taken on this subject. Since then, it exchanges with stakeholders “to protect the ability of hemodialysis patients to travel safely abroad and to better understand the challenges these people face,” says his spokesperson, Hayley Chazan, in the Journal of the insurance.

On the occasion of a meeting with dialysis, the minister ” told them that she would find a solution to ensure that they are insured. The patients had the impression that she would force insurers to sell them insurance, ” says France Gélinas. “I don’t know of any insurance companies that do volunteer work. Even if they include the hemodialysis in their blankets, if they sell at prices that patients can’t pay, this is not a solution, ” she continued.

Face it, Hayley Chazan belies that allegation : “let this be clear : the minister Elliott does not require insurance companies to cover people who require haemodialysis when they travel outside of Canada. This is not part of the conversations going on between our government and the stakeholders. “

Solicited by the Journal de l’assurance, l’Association canadienne des compagnies d’assurances de personnes (CLHIA) indicates that it does not wish to comment ” for the moment “.

A decision outside the law ?

While the outcome of these discussions is still uncertain, France Gélinas “fingers crossed” for the minister to “reconsider” its decision. The mp wants the Ontario continues to cover all Ontarians traveling outside of Canada. To the extent that “the federal government” helps “, because it would no longer cover the Ontarians abroad contravenes the canada health Act (CHA), she said.

“The provincial health insurance must follow the insured from one canadian province to another, as well as outside of Canada. This is one of the five conditions for the province to receive funding from the federal government. From the 1st of October, we will respect more this condition. Ontario turns its back on this important piece of legislation and goes to a two-tier system, ” said Ms. Gélinas. In response, the spokesman for Christine Elliott states that “the LCS is a federal law” and that ” to determine if a province violates the LCS is a federal issue “.

In fact, the condition of ‘portability’, enshrined in article 11 of the LCS provides that provincial health insurance to ” ensure the payment of the amounts for the cost of insured health services provided to insured persons temporarily absent from the province “. The act specifies that, if these services are provided to foreign countries “, the amount should be equivalent to this ” that would have been paid by the province for similar services provided in the province “. The canadian provinces must meet this requirement ” to be entitled to the full contribution of monetary Transfer as a canadian health “, the law says.

Contacted by the Journal of insurance, Health Canada had not responded at the time of writing these lines. Each year, approximately 20,000 Ontarians have recourse to the programme of the OHIP covering a portion of the health costs incurred by Ontario residents outside of Canada. This service costs between 10 and 12 million dollars per year to the ontario government.

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