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Where can I get health care if I don't have OHIP?
You still have healthcare options if you don't have Ontario Health Insurance (OHIP). Some doctors accept patients with private health insurance or who can pay for their services.
If you are pregnant without OHIP and plan to give birth in Ontario, you may wish to contact a midwife. Midwives provide care to all residents of their catchment area, regardless of OHIP eligibility.
Community Health Centres
Community Health Centres (CHCs) are non-profit healthcare organizations that provide primary care for individuals, families and communities. CHCs have teams of health professionals and offer other community support programs.
Services at CHCs help people in your community get health care and attend programs regardless of their situation. CHCs deliver primary healthcare services, health promotion, illness prevention, and community education.
Provincial Health Care
In Canada, if you are moving from one province to another, you may have a waiting period before you qualify for health insurance; you should check with your home province and your new province to learn about the rules.
The Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) pays for your medical services for a while after you arrive in Canada.
IFHP is for resettled refugees, protected persons, refugee claimants, and victims of human trafficking. People detained by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) are also covered. The type of IFHP coverage you receive and the length of your coverage depend on your status in Canada.
As an international student, you are not eligible for the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). Your school will offer special health plans for you. Public universities generally offer the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP), while colleges and private universities use other plans. Your spouse and children may be eligible if they are with you in Canada.
These plans are not free. The cost of health insurance is part of your tuition and student fees.
If you plan to buy insurance before you travel to Canada, read the full policy before you buy any insurance. Make sure that your coverage includes the time you are travelling to Canada. Many insurance companies will not cover you if you travel one way. Some companies will not pay for any costs after you arrive in Canada.
Student Run Clinics
If you are not covered by OHIP, you may be able to access healthcare through a student-run clinic in your area. These clinics offer a variety of healthcare services that are supervised by licensed healthcare professionals.
Working Holiday Visa
Rainbow Health states, "International travellers with a work visa are eligible for health coverage under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) after 90 days of working full-time in Ontario." They also give general healthcare information to LGBTQIA+ people on working holiday visas.
Pharmacies fill drug prescriptions and offer medication counselling. Pharmacists can also prescribe or suggest certain treatment options, including some of the most common medical ailments.
You can contact Health811 to connect with a registered nurse for free, secure and confidential health advice. This service is available any time of the day or night.
Settlement services and community agencies can help you find healthcare options in your area.
For More Information
- I am pregnant and don't have OHIP. What health care can I get? An article about prenatal care options in Ontario.
- OmbudService for Life & Health Insurance (OLHI) - An independent complaint resolution and information service for Canadian life and health insurance consumers.
- TheHealthLine.ca - This website can help you find health and community services in Ontario. From Community Care Access Centres.
- Refugee HealthLine - Call this line (1-866-286-4770) for free to register for help in being connected with a health service provider who can assist with initial medical assessments and referral to other health services. This is not an emergency or crisis line.
- HNUC.org - Health Network for the Uninsured offers information for people without OHIP in the Greater Toronto Area.
November 7, 2023