Ministers trying to prevent sky-high healthcare bills for travellers in other provinces
Published Friday, January 29, 2016 6:07PM EST
Canadians who fall ill while travelling across the country may soon be spared sky-high medical bills, CTV News has learned.
Provincial health ministers are working on new agreements that would protect those who end up in life-threatening situations while travelling within Canada.
The change in policy was sparked by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne after an Alberta woman went into labour while visiting Timmins, Ont.
CTV Toronto's Paul Bliss asked the premier about the case in August, and Wynne said the province's health minister would push for change.
Amy Savill had to take an air ambulance from the remote city to Sudbury because the Timmins hospital didn't have the intensive care unit her premature baby would need. Out-of-province residents pay the actual cost of an air ambulance in Ontario unless it's between two hospitals and they return to the first one within 24 hours, so Savill was hit with the bill after her daughter was born.
The Ornge air ambulance service would not confirm the cost, but said that a one-hour flight typically costs between $8,000 and $10,000.
Savill's case caused an uproar among Canadians who didn't know they wouldn't be covered in other provinces. Ultimately, Alberta and Ontario agreed to split the cost of the flight so the new mother would not have to pay thousands of dollars.
Months later, Bliss has learned that members of all of Canada's provinces and territories are working out a deal. Though specific details have yet to be provided, CTV has learned that a change is coming.
A deal is imminent, but Ontario's health ministry said anyone travelling across Canada should still get health insurance as a precaution.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Paul Bliss
A patient is moved to an Ornge helicopter to be air lifted to hospital in this file photo from Sunday, February 26, 2012. (Pawel Dwulit /The Canadian Press)
Amy Savill, of High Prairie, is shown in a family photo.