Thursday, April 30, 2009

Applying for Out of Province Health Care (OHIP) In Ontario

Things have changed in the process of applying for out of province / out of country health care through OHIP.

Even though their official webpage still claims that each individual can receive upwards of two years of out of country health care per lifetime (which begs the question: does this time reboot when you are legally dead, and then revived?) those terms no longer stand.

You see, Canada is quite slow at updating their official government webpages. You would think that when they were alerted that their link to the Embassy of Egypt in Canada directed all those who clicked upon it to a porn site, that they would act fast. But no – it took them two months before they decided to reply to my somewhat important observation that they were “going to look into it.” I’ve not since re-checked the link, nor do I intend to now, but you may just find yourself delivered to a very strange website when looking to apply for visas. Honestly, I wonder how many other links the site has that don’t do what they should. Many are actually dead links to Canadian government pages that no longer exist.

Now, I was told, the rule is – if you apply for out of province health care, you can take upwards of two years. When you return, you need to have lived in country for a five year period, before you can apply for this privilege again.

I was alerted to this when I claimed I needed an eleven month extension. The man working the counter asked why I didn’t just take a full year. Then, upon explaining, I asked if it wouldn’t make sense to take two years, and then just make the change later if need be.

So now I am covered by OHIP for two years outside of Canada, starting September 1 2009. What does this mean? It means I can get additional travelers insurance to keep me on the road for two years, instead of just one. Will I do this? Who can say – but now the option is open to me. And, thinking about it, as I need to live in country for five years once I return – I’ll be in my mid thirties the next chance I get.

Something to think about.

The only downside? I was tricked into getting a new health card when I was there. I knew, when they took my picture, that my old red and white – never expiring – card was doomed. They punched a hole through it only a moment later. The times we’d shared together! The way I wrote one of the letters in my name backwards when I “signed it” (printed – as I received it in early elementary school.) Why – it was run over by a car, the plastic cover ripped off, removing the black colour on the numbers. It had a history – that card.

Sigh. Now, every four years I’ll need a new one. There will be no love there.


  1. Awww...those red and white cards are a classic! Congrats on the new card--hehe. Thanks for informing us about this "out of the country" policy.

  2. We're in Paris right now. Wifi is kinda 'slow and intermittent' but can still post. Have you heard of a technology that can help you scout out free wifi signal wherever you go? You might want to get one for your trip. Hehehe. We'd like you to keep posting on the road, you know....

  3. Wow, that's a useful piece of information.

    The requirement sounds pretty inflexible. It's a good thing that I wasn't under this rule when I went abroad twice within a year in the early part of the 2000s.

    This is going to throw off my plan of having a mini retirement every four year. I hope this policy changes and improves... *fingers crossed*

  4. Hey Jen, I know of the Wi-Fi detecting T-Shirt from Think Geek ( but it's pretty over the top. I'm hoping there's a bracelet version, or something like that.

    inmyownplace: You can be out of country for up to 5 months without needing an extension. It's just if you're gone longer than that - so that's not too too bad.

  5. I dont know if you still maintain or check this blog but I am in the same sort of situation except I am currently in Africa and needing to extend my OHIP coverage for the same reasons.

    Do you know if this is possible to from here or am I out of luck?

  6. As far as I know, you had to do it before you left Canada... There might be a way out there, but not one of which I am aware.


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