Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Latest news on OHIP - Canadian Health board to Immigrants

Just read this article this morning and thought I'd share it with you:

From the CBS News website:

Toronto's board of health is calling on the province to give landed immigrants health coverage as soon as they arrive.
Currently, there is a three-month waiting period before newly arrived landed immigrants can get coverage under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan.
The board says eliminating the waiting period would allow timely diagnosis and treatment of communicable diseases.
Toronto health officials say they see about 300 cases of tuberculosis a year, many of them in individuals who come from countries where the illness is widespread.
The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care notes that since 2004, diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis is available to all people in the province, regardless of medical insurance coverage.
The ministry says others exempted from the three-month waiting period include newborns born in Ontario, certain adopted children under 16 and some refugees.
New Brunswick recently eliminated its waiting period, leaving Ontario and B.C. as the only provinces that have a comprehensive waiting period for newly arrived landed immigrants.
Quebec recently introduced a waiting period, but has a number of exemptions, including the diagnosis and treatment of communicable diseases.
"Newcomers to Ontario who have already spent time and money securing landed immigrant status should not have to wait three months for OHIP — especially when it comes to the diagnosis and treatment of communicable diseases," said Dr. David McKeown, medical officer of health for Toronto.
"Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial," McKeown said Wednesday. "We know that newcomers without coverage are hesitant to see a doctor, which puts their health and the health of others at risk."
Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal attract the most immigrants to Canada every year, according to Statistics Canada.

Keep in mind though that all immigrants have to go through the health examination and testing process before landing in Canada.

In case you are wondering what that 3 month difference makes:  We had to take our son for an immunization shot after we got a notice from the health board. Not taking your child for the immunization shot will mean reminder notices and or eventually the school having to stop your child from attending classes. So we took our son to the clinic and as we had our health cards, both the Doctors visit and the injection were free. But another family, who had arrived from the Middle East with three children, had to give each child 3 shots (to catch up with the Canadian immunization calendar) and didn't have their health cards yet. The father listened in shock as he was told that he would have to pay $150 per child for their shots. Not sure what he decided to do, as we were called in to see the Doctor at that time.

Some people do take private insurance to cover those 3 months. Do all your homework before you land and be safe!

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