A longtime rural resident, I use my 60 plus years of life learning to opinionate here and elsewhere on the “interweb” on everything from politics to environmental issues. A believer in reasonable discourse rather than unhelpful attacks I try to give positive input to the blogesphere, so feel free to comment upon rural issues or anything else posted here. But don’t be surprised if you comments get zapped if you are not polite in your replys.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Health Card Renewal – are you covered?

Recently my son, upon renewing his drivers license was told that his Ontario Health card had been revoked in that he did not respond to a renewal request sent to the address where we originally lived when the card was issued some thirty plus years ago. It seems that if you do not use your card for a period of 7 years and have moved in the meanwhile that , despite having updated numerous other documents including you Ontario Drivers license, that the heath services which you are entitled to and pay for in your taxes will be automatically revoked. If you have not used any heath services in 5 or more years you had best check and make sure your card is still valid, and if you have moved get the card updated, there are a number of cases documented online where such citizens have had payment demanded before receiving necessary treatment.

The only good thing here is that apparently a recent change to the 'system' brings up a red flag when you renew your drivers license (or at least it did in my sons case) and thus you will eventually be aware of the revocation. The strange thing is if the government is aware of the card being invalid when licence renewal taking place why cannot they send a renewal notice to whatever current address is in their database for your drivers license. I am quite certain that 99% of folks are not aware of the necessity to notify the Ministry of Heath of a change of address since most such cards do not contain that information (I cannot speak for the new photo ID cards since we here all have the old red and white lifetime cards and very rarely use doctor or hospital services. I am further convinced that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of Ontario citizens who are in the same position with no heath coverage but are unaware of it.  It now seems to me that those who do not abuse the system are being penalized for NOT adding the the cost of such services.

It must be noted here that you can get a new heath card at Service Ontario whilst renewing you licence however despite having your license to hand and even details of your revoked card still on the 'system' you will need to provide further proof of your identity, citizenship and marital status, this is also true if simply renewing you existing valid photo card!

For more information see http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/public/publications/ohip/renew.aspx

For renewing an old red & white card see

For a list of documents required see this pdf document 

To add insult to injury it seems that whilst you can replace a damaged, lost or stolen card at any License Office "Heath Card Services" are NOT available at most small rural and small town license offices so it seems you must travel to a major center to replace your "revoked" Heath Card!