Family Health

The Wonders of Ontario Health Insurance Plan and OHIP+ Children and Youth Pharmacare

After reading The Medical Bill, I thought about when was the last time I paid for a medical bill? And then a flashback of my daughter’s experience came to me.

Kara, my sweet daughter, was 3 month-old when she was diagnosed to have Eczematous Dermatitis and possible Ichthyosis during the first consultation with her Pediatrician Dermatologist from The Hospital of Sick Children (popularly known as SickKids) in Toronto, Ontario. With OHIP (short for Ontario Health Insurance Plan), our first and succeeding visits were covered by the provincial government’s health insurance.

Kara’s routine blood test were also covered by OHIP. Coverage to diagnostic tests is one more thing that makes it awesome. But wait, there’s more! The healthcare team that managed Kara’s condition told me they will be sending Kara’s hair samples for a genetic test to confirm if she has Ichthyosis. The cost of genetic test is not a joke. They are worth thousands of dollars. We couldn’t afford it. But they assured me that we won’t have to pay out of pocket as they will apply to the Ministry of Health for coverage of the diagnostic testing cost.

Few months later, the result showed Kara doesn’t have Ichthyosis. It’s just that her eczema was so bad when we brought her to the SickKids. We were also told that the application for coverage was approved and we need not to shoulder any portion of the genetic testing fee. Everything they said were good to my ears.

When Kara was about to be 7 month-old, she had an ear infection. She needed an antibiotic. She was given 2 types: one for topical application, and another one for oral intake. Since it was my first time to buy an antibiotic for my daughter, I just handed out her health card to the pharmacist. Surprisingly, she told me that the prescriptions were covered by the OHIP+.

OHIP+ Children and Youth Pharmacare is the newest service for Ontarians who are 24 years and below. This entitles them to get coverage on selected prescription drugs, only if they have a valid OHIP health card. This definitely lessens burden of those families who need some help on medical funds.

As a person who came from another country, I couldn’t help myself to be amazed on how the health system in Canada is, specifically in Ontario. (I can’t generalize because each province has their own health system). Although there are some drawbacks, knowing the people will receive medically necessary service as needed despite their social status and without the need of showing your capability to pay is already a life-changing experience for me. That’s because showing-money-before-treatment is what I have known how the health system is (commonly in the private hospitals) all my entire life until I came to Canada.

Right now, I am just happy looking back how everything turned out well with the support of the government through their health system. I am just happy that the Province of Ontario does not stop in looking for ways on how to extend help and support to their people.

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