Feds criticize Ontario for eliminating out-of-country health insurance

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TORONTO — Canada’s health minister says the Ontario government’s plan to eliminate out-of-country health insurance could jeopardize access to necessary medical care.

Ginette Petitpas Taylor says in a letter to her Ontario counterpart Christine Elliott that the policy will lead to higher private health insurance premiums.

Petitpas Taylor says that even modest increases in insurance rates could pose a hardship for people who travel regularly to the United States for work or leisure.

The program currently covers out-of-country inpatient services up to $400 per day for a higher level of care, such as intensive care, as well up to $50 per day for emergency outpatient and doctor services.

In May, Elliot announced the decision to scrap the program following a six-day public consultation, saying it is very costly and does not provide value to taxpayers.

The province spends $2.8 million to administer approximately $9 million in claim payments through the program every year.