The Ontario health insurance plan is a decentralised, universal healthcare system. The nation’s 13 provinces and territories partake in leadership, funding, and administrative duties for health care services. Each with their insurance program receives per-capita financial assistance from the federal government. Federal taxation accounts for a majority of funding for Canada’s healthcare system. The system affords equitable access to essential physician care and hospital treatments required for everyone who is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident.

This blog discusses all you need to know about the fundamentals of the OHIP card and Ontario’s healthcare coverage.

Ontario Health Insurance Plan: Explained

OHIP(Ontario Health Insurance Plan), popularly known as Canada Health Card System, is a vital component of the Canadian healthcare system. Residents of Ontario have free or inexpensive access to medical services and treatments thanks to this government-run Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) that pays for many medical and healthcare services in the province.

Understanding How The OHIP Card Operates

Funded by taxes, the OHIP covers emergency and precautionary healthcare deemed medical requisite. OHIP service coverage ranges from doctor appointments and operations to diagnostic examinations, among other things. A person entering a healthcare facility or provider’s office shall produce their OHIP card, which is scanned to confirm their insurance status and charge the government for the services rendered.

Eligibility Requirements For the Ontario Health Insurance Plan

Eligibility Requirements for the Ontario Health Insurance Plan

In Canada, the government provides essential healthcare to those who live here and who meet the eligibility requirements. Those who qualify can access a variety of healthcare services in their community.

You must meet the following qualifications for OHIP eligibility:

    • Be present in person for 153 of the first 183 days following the establishment of residency in the province.
    • Be physically present in Ontario for 153 days in any given 12-month period.
    • Have a permanent primary residence in Ontario.

Additionally, you must satisfy at least one of the following prerequisites:

    • You are a Canadian citizen
    • You are an Indigenous person recognised by the Federal Indian Act
    • You are a permanent resident 
    • You are applying for Canadian permanent residency (And the IRCC stated that you satisfy the eligibility criteria to apply or you have not yet received a denial).

You are qualified for an Ontario health card application if you meet all the OHIP eligibility requirements.

Documents Required For Canada Health Card Application

Each family member must possess a Canadian health card to avail OHIP funded medical services. Children older than 15½ years must register in person and apply for their health card. Request an OHIP card at a Service Ontario centre once you arrive in Canada.

You must carry the following paperwork with you for the procedure:

    • A completed “Registration for Ontario Health Insurance Coverage” form
    • Three individual documents from a list of acceptable identification documents (photocopies not qualified):
      • One original document as proof of your Canadian citizenship or OHIP. You must provide evidence of your immigration status if you are not a Canadian citizen yet.
      • One document (original, printed, or digital as noted on the list) that acts as proof of your residency in Ontario(e.g., a lease agreement or utility bill)
      • One original document that proves your identity (e.g., driver’s license, passport, or birth certificate).

Canada Health Card Application Procedure

Canada Health Card Application Procedure

Detailed below are the in-person and online application methods to apply for the OHIP card:

  • In-Person Application Process

You qualify to apply for the Ontario health insurance plan as an immigrant or permanent resident of Canada. The province where you intend to live is where you must submit your application. 

Head to your nearest Service Ontario Centre with all relevant documents to submit a Canada health card application. You must complete some paperwork before submitting your Ontario health card application at a Service Ontario centre.

Once done, turn in the three documents, with any forms required to a Service Ontario representative. Your picture is taken for the health card after the staff has reviewed your papers. After completing the documentation, a receipt stating the commencement date of your OHIP coverage is given to you.

Instead of a health card that requires a waiting time, a temporary document offering instant coverage is provided. Your actual Ontario health card is underway and will be delivered via mail.

  • Online Application Process

There are no provisions for the online Ontario health card application at present. However, you may download and fill in the required Registration for Ontario Health Insurance Coverage form from the ServiceOntario website before visiting your neighbourhood ServiceOntario Centre.

Completing the documentation ahead of time is advised, given the restricted services during the pandemic. Alternatively, you may complete the form by picking up a copy at a Service Ontario Centre.

Scheduling an Appointment For Canada Health Card Application

The procedure to schedule an appointment to apply for a health card in Canada can vary depending on your province or territory. To apply in person, you may schedule a health card appointment online by following the instructions on the Service Ontario website or by calling the ServiceOntario information line at 1-800-267-8097. 

Navigating your Canada Health Card Appointment

Bring all necessary supporting documents according to the Ontario health card requirements. A ServiceOntario service clerk will verify your documents, process your application and take your picture for your OHIP card. Upon processing and approval of your application, your Canada health card will be mailed to you.

Checklist For The Canada Health Card Appointment 

You will require the following documents on the day of your appointment to apply for the Ontario health insurance plan:

    • Proof of citizenship in Canada or OHIP-eligible Immigration Status, such as a work permit or Permanent Resident card
    • Proof of Ontario residency, such as a driver’s license or electricity bill.
    • Identity proof (such as a passport or credit card)
    • A filled-out Registration for Ontario Health Insurance Coverage form

Remember to carry only original documentation since photocopies are typically not accepted at Service Ontario Centers.

The Perks of Being a Canadian Health Card Holder

Perks of Being a Canadian Health Card Holder

The Canada Health Card is indispensable as it provides countrywide access to a wide range of publicly-funded healthcare services.

    • Availing of Quality Healthcare in Canada: The Ontario health insurance plan covers numerous emergency and preventative medical care costs. Individuals may access a comprehensive range of medical services, including doctor appointments, hospital stays, and prescription drugs, without out-of-pocket expenses under the coverage extended by the OHIP card. Everyone has equal access to essential healthcare services, irrespective of financial circumstances.
    • Doctor appointments: Whether you visit your regular doctor or see one in a walk-in clinic, OHIP bears the entire cost of your services, provided they are medically essential.
    • Hospital Visits and Stays: The Canada health card benefits cover doctor and nursing services, diagnostic expenses, lab tests, accommodation and meals, and prescription medications while you are in the hospital. If you prefer a private or semi-private room, you must bear some or all of the fees out of your pocket or through supplementary private insurance.
    • Dental Surgery: OHIP also expands coverage against certain dental surgeries performed in a hospital.
    • Visiting an Optometrist: An OHIP card also covers annual eye examinations for residents under 19 or over 65. Residents between the ages of 20 and 64 will only get OHIP coverage if they have a specific medical condition affecting their eyes, including glaucoma or diabetes mellitus.
    • Northern Health Travel Grant: The government assists citizens residing in Northern Ontario in paying for transit linked to healthcare services since the northern parts of Ontario are further from medical services.

Significance of Owning an OHIP Card for Canadians and Permanent Residents

This section explores why possessing an Ontario health card is essential for Canadians and permanent residents.

    • Peace of mind: Fulfilling the exorbitant medical costs can be challenging when medical emergencies arise without forewarning. Canada Health Card is a respite and helps you tide over financial crises by offering insurance coverage against medical contingencies. Knowing they can receive necessary medical intervention and treatment without experiencing financial hardship gives Canadians and permanent residents peace of mind.
    • Preventive care: People with a Canada Health Card have access to preventive services, including yearly check-ups and immunisations, assisting in maintaining well-being and identifying health issues early on. Improved health outcomes and reduced need for expensive treatments are the subsequent results.

The Bottom Line

The role of the OHIP card is instrumental in ensuring access to high-quality medical care for residents of Ontario. You can never predict when you may need to seek healthcare services. The importance of always keeping your Ontario health card up-to-date and carrying it with you can never be understated. It is critical to replace your card immediately if you have lost or damaged it to prevent delays in receiving the care required.

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Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

What Happens If I lose my Ontario Health Card?

The foremost step is to notify a Service Ontario representative. You will instantly have your lost card disabled by doing this. A new card is initiated for replacement and promptly delivered via mail.

Am I Covered by OHIP When I Travel Outside of Canada?

The Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) extends financial coverage for eligible citizens for medically essential services anywhere in the province. OHIP coverage ceases to apply when travelling outside of Canada. Purchasing private health insurance to avoid landing on health contingencies that entail significant expenses is recommended.

Are there any costs associated with an OHIP card?

An OHIP card can be applied or renewed free of cost. A $10 fee is chargeable if you misplace your card and require a replacement.

When can I expect to receive my health card?

Generally, your card should arrive in the mail within one to four weeks of applying.

How do I modify the information on my OHIP card?

Visit a Service Ontario location to update the data on your OHIP card, where documentation of the revised data will be required.