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OHIP Coverage Waiting Period

Generally, there is a three-month waiting period for Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) coverage. It applies to most new residents and former residents returning to Ontario.

Is anyone exempt from the waiting period?

Yes; these include, but are not limited to:

  • newborn babies born in Ontario;
  • OHIP-eligible adopted children under the age of 16;
  • protected persons (Convention Refugees and persons in need of protection); and
  • people from another province/territory who move directly into a long-term care facility in Ontario, or who require admittance into a long-term care facility within 3 months of arrival in Ontario.

Staff at your local ServiceOntario centre will help you determine if you are exempt from the waiting period. To find the nearest ServiceOntario centre, go to ServiceOntario.ca/findservices. You must show that you meet the requirements both for OHIP, and for the waiting period exemption. For more information about exemptions to the three-month waiting period:

Please Note:

The waiting period does not apply to insured residents who travel outside Ontario for less than 212 days in each 12-month period. All insured Ontario residents can spend up to 212 days in each 12-month period outside Ontario without losing their OHIP coverage.

In addition, insured Ontario residents who are eligible for continuous OHIP coverage while out of the country during a longer absence are not affected by the three-month waiting period. Please refer to the fact sheet, 'Longer Absences From Ontario' for more information.

With the waiting period, when am I eligible for OHIP coverage?

a) If you move to Ontario from another country:

The waiting period begins on the date you establish or re-establish residence in Ontario. If you are an eligible temporary resident, such as a foreign worker who meets the citizenship and residence requirements described in Ontario's Health Insurance Act, the waiting period begins on the date you establish residence in Ontario.

Your coverage begins when the waiting period ends - after three calendar months.

For example:

Date Residence is Established in Ontario Coverage Begins
January 15
May 3
November 30
April 15
August 3
February 28

b) If you move to Ontario from another province or territory where you had provincial/territorial health insurance coverage:

If you move to Ontario directly from another province and apply for coverage, your OHIP coverage will begin on the first day of the third month after establishing residence in Ontario, provided you were insured in your previous province or territory.

Your valid health card from your former province will continue to provide you with health insurance coverage in accordance with that province/territory's plan during the waiting period.

For example:

Date Residence is Established in Ontario Coverage Begins
January 15
May 3
November 30
April 1
August 1
February 1

c) If you move to Ontario from another province or territory where you did not have provincial/territorial health insurance coverage:

If you are an uninsured person moving to Ontario from another Canadian province or territory and are eligible for OHIP, you will be subject to a waiting period lasting three full months. Your Ontario health insurance coverage would become effective three full months after establishing permanent residence in Ontario.

Please Note:

  • Leaving Ontario for more than 30 days in the first six months immediately after establishing residence in Ontario will impact your OHIP coverage and affect the start date of your three-month waiting period.
  • It can result in a new three-month waiting period being applied as most new and returning residents to Ontario are required to be physically present in Ontario for 153 days in the first 183 days after residence is established in Ontario in order to maintain OHIP coverage.
  • The requirement to be physically present in Ontario for 153 days in the first 183 days after residence is established in Ontario only applies to new or returning residents:
    • Who move to Ontario from another country or
    • Who move to Ontario from another province/territory where they were not covered by the health insurance of that province/territory

How can I get coverage during the waiting period?

During the waiting period, you may be able to purchase private health insurance through a private insurance company if you meet the company's eligibility requirements.

The above is only a summary of the OHIP eligibility provisions of Regulation 552 for your reference. You should consult the actual regulation for the specific requirements applicable to you. The provisions in Regulation 552 prevail over this summary.

December 2011

For More Information

Call ServiceOntario, Infoline at:
1-866-532-3161 (Toll-free in Ontario only)
TTY 1-800-387-5559.
In Toronto, TTY 416-327-4282
Hours of operation : 8:30am - 5:00pm

If you are a member of the media, call Communications and Information Branch at 416-314-6197 or visit our News Room section.