Good News for Ontario travellers to the USA and abroad:

In November 2020, a unanimous decision by the (Canada) Ontario Divisional Court, overturned the Ford governments edict and reinstated the Ontario Health Insurance Plan coverages to Ontarians travelling outside of the country.  

Canadians will still need private medical insurance to supplement their provincial or territorial health coverage.  While in the US or abroad, you need to remember Provincial Health care only provides ”limited financial coverage based on a provincial fee schedule for Doctors and Hospitals.  Unfortunately your government plan only covers a small portion of your health care bill should a travel emergency arise.  An example is a snowbird who had a heart attack in florida and had to have emergency stent placements.  The US hospital’s account was in excess of $150,000 USD.  OHIP only paid $660.50.  As ridiculous as it seems, it is a dramatic example why Canadians travelling abroad, need supplemental travel and/or private health care insurance.

Buyer Beware

Interestingly, most Canadian Snowbird travel sites are either owned by a private health care insurer/broker or they advertise private insurance travel plans with little understanding how these policies respond in an emergency.  From a consumers perspective “there are plans and then there are plans“:  For example most if not all canadian private insurance plans do not cover, (or excessively limit) anyone suffering from a pre-existing illness, injury or disease.  This is a terrible travesty.  Does anyone know any 60+ year old who doesn’t have some sort of ailment. What can be worse, then thinking you or your loved ones are protected, but during or after the emergency finding out – you have no coverage.

Regardless insurance coverage needs to be purchased from companies that are familiar with Cross Border Injury claims and car accidents injury claims.  A good insurer understands the complexities of Tort and Contractual issues that arise when Canadians and US citizens travel across north america.  

* Here are our Top Five picks for Canadians who are looking for Private travel Health Insurance:  We wanted to be impartial and pick companies we believe give a consumer a fair shake. These companies are not in any specific order.  You will note there are insurance companies and banks that sell travel insurance that are not on our list.  At this time we have only chosen, in our opinion, the 5 best companies that provide travel insurance. You must always be very careful as to what you buy and you must abide by the terms and conditions outlined in your policy in order to be properly protected.  Comparing rates and coverages is important. We also believe one of the most important tests of a good insurer – is one that pays claims in a thorough and very timely manner.

Here are in our opinion the top 5: they are all regulated insurers by its appropriate Provincial and/or Canadian insurance authority; they all have significant financial assets and reserves; they have been in business for a significant period of time; and, they all have excellent insurance claims departments.  

  1. Manulife Insurance Company
  2. CAA travel Insurance
  3. Royal Bank of Canada 
  4. London Life Insurance Company
  5. Allianz Insurance Company

P.S.  Always Check the insurers’ google reviews.

Please note: We have specifically excluded brokerages.  In our opinion very few sellers of Ontario health insurance plan coverages are fully aware of the nuances and/or legal issues that can arise in coverages, claims, and the ultimate reimbursement of the claim.  We will eventually list brokerages who we are prepared to recommend.


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