In 1994, international students were removed from the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). Since then, international students have been forced to rely on expensive private health insurance programs such as UHIP and CHIP, which can cost anywhere between $700 and $2000 annually, and are not universally accepted by all doctors, clinics and specialists. These obstacles to healthcare have discouraged many international students from seeking medical assistance even when it is serious, while others have found themselves in emergency rooms for treatments that could otherwise be administered by clinics and general practitioners – if only their health insurance was accepted. These visits (or lack of) cost international students and the province precious time and resources. Other provinces like British Columbia, Manitoba and Nova Scotia all cover international students under public health insurance, it’s time Ontario join them again.
Think Global, Act Local
The Federation has long demanded the re-integration of international students into OHIP. This year, the Federation met with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to discuss options for re-integration and has produced a formal policy document outlining options for the provincial government.