ontario health card

The red and white Ontario health cards are officially being canceled

Any Ontarians still somehow carrying an old school red-and-white health card will have to upgrade to the province's newer photo card this year.

The iconic photo-less relics will no longer be accepted as of July 1.

It's been a whopping 25 years since the phase-out of the old cards began, yet about 300,000 are still in circulation. Notices will be sent this month to anyone who hasn't renewed their card, followed by monthly reminders of the summer deadline.

Given the lack of photo, signature or other information, the older cards make users more susceptible to fraud and are way more likely to be misused, by Americans in particular.

It was estimated that fraudulent use of the old health cards was costing our system $65 million per year at the time that the new card design was first introduced in 1995. The red-and-white cards, at that point, were only five years old.

Patients who haven't adapted to the ways of the future by July 1 — at least, as far as health cards are concerned — will have to pay out-of-pocket for any medical services.

Lead photo by

Dean Donovan


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