Except for the usual asthma attacks when I suffer from cold, I rarely get sick. That’s what I thought before coming to Canada. That’s the reason why we didn’t follow the advice of getting a temporary health insurance while waiting to be covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). Within three months,  I had to visit a doctor twice due to staph infection. As to why I’m having it now, I have no idea. One visit to the clinic, if you are not covered under the OHIP, costs around $70 to $100. Prescription medicines are another story.

In Ontario, you need to wait for 3 months after you landed  or settled in Ontario before you become eligible for the health insurance plan. Waiting time differs depending on the province you are in. To celebrate our third month here in Toronto, we applied for our OHIP. 😀 As usual, dealing with government agencies here is easy, efficient and hassle-free, if you come prepared.

Aside from the form you have to fill-out, you need to show the following documents:

  1. Proof of Canadian Citizenship or OHIP-Eligible Immigration Status – We used our COPR for this one.
  2. Proof of residency in Ontario – A document that contains your name and address. I used my driver’s license for this one.
  3. Proof of Identity – We used our passports.

For other documents that you can use, check this link.

Tip: Be sure that you and your spouse have at least one billing statement being physically mailed under your names as this is the easiest way to have your proof of residency.

Most of our billing statements are named after me and though we have a joint bank account, we opted for paperless statements which is not accepted as proof of residence, even if printed or photocopied. Luckily we have a Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) correspondence under my wife’s name with our address in it, she has to come back to Service Ontario to file her application the next day though.

Basically, if you are covered under OHIP, the government will pay for almost all medical needs but will not cover the following:

  • Ambulance transportation services if not deemed medically necessary (maximum cost of $240).
  • Routine eye examinations for people between the ages of 19 and 65.
  • Glasses and contact lenses.
  • Some physiotherapy may be partially covered or not at all.
  • Routine dental services such as examinations, fillings, cleanings and non-surgical extractions.
  • Podiatrists are only partially covered by OHIP.
  • Paramedicals such as chiropractors, massage therapists, naturopaths, podiatrists, acupuncturists and osteopaths.
  • Necessary emergency medical treatment obtained outside of Canada (e.g. while traveling) is only covered on a very limited basis; it is highly recommended to have travel insurance protection if traveling outside of Canada. Out of province ambulance costs are not covered.
  • Prescription drugs, although assistance MAY be available.
  • Any cosmetic surgery.
  • Semi-private and private rooms in a hospital.

See more  details at healthquotes.

Most of the services not covered by OHIP may be covered by a personal health insurance plan or through a group insurance plan usually provided by your employers.

We’ll start looking for a family doctor soon and I will share how we did it. Until next post.