A sponsor group has asked if it needs to get OHIP cards upon arrival for a privately-sponsored newcomer family since the newcomers are covered for 12 months by the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP). IFHP covers basic health-care services such as doctor visits, hospital-care and lab tests along with supplemental services that include limited vision-care, urgent dental care, and prescription drugs. Isn’t that duplication of coverage? The easy answer is you need both.
It is important that sponsors ensure application for OHIP as soon as possible after arrival for the entire family so that they become part of our health-care system. There is no waiting period for OHIP, but registrants must show proof of identity, OHIP-eligible immigration status, etc., during the application process. OHIP applicants must apply in person at a Service Ontario Centre. Because OHIP does not cover prescription drugs provided in non-hospital settings, or urgent dental services, or eye exams, IFHP will cover those supplemental needs for the year of your sponsorship, but the basic service provided by IFHP ends once family members have an OHIP card, so there is no duplication.
Supplemental services include limited vision care, urgent dental care, home care and long-term care, and services from allied healthcare practitioners, including clinical psychologists, psychotherapists, counselling therapists, speech-language therapists, and physiotherapists. Also included is coverage for assistive devices, medical supplies and equipment.
The benefits covered by the IFHP have certain limits including maximum dollar amounts. For more information, consult the IRCC website.