Ontario is eliminating red and white health cards


Ontario residents who still have the old health cards—the red and white ones without a picture—will soon be required to have them updated.

According to a release from the Province, as of July 1, 2020, red and white health cards will no longer be accepted for OHIP services.

“The advanced security features of the photo health card help protect our public health system and is another measure to improve value for taxpayers’ dollars,” Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, said in the release.

“While there is no cost to convert or renew an Ontario photo health card, there could be significant costs by allowing red and white health cards, which could be used fraudulently, to remain in circulation. Each month, individuals using these outdated cards access up to $108 million in health services,” she continued.

Those who do still have the old cards will be receiving a notice in the mail regarding these changes starting this month. 
According to the Province, there are currently 300,000 people still using red and white health cards in Ontario.

In order to have the old card replaced with the new card that includes a picture of the owner, residents can bring the necessary documents—Canadian citizenship or OHIP-eligible immigration status, proof of residency in Ontario, and proof of identity—to a ServiceOntario. They can also complete a Health Card Re-registration form online to speed up the process.

Ontario residents who do not update their old health cards before the July 1 deadline will no longer be insured and may be asked to pay for health care services upfront.

However, Ontario’s public hospitals cannot refuse to provide services to a patient who is faced with a life-threatening medical emergency.

Once a valid health card is obtained, the owner’s insurance will be reinstated, and they will be reimbursed for any fees they may have had to pay while their card was invalid.

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