No changes to OHIP-covered blood tests, Ontario Ministry of Health says

Viral social media posts claim incorrectly that Premier Doug Ford has made changes to OHIP coverage for blood tests. Richard Southern with how misinformation is invading the election campaign.

By Richard Southern and Lucas Casaletto

Ontario’s Ministry of Health asserts there have been no changes to blood tests covered under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) despite several now-viral tweets claiming that they are now being charged money for bloodwork or screening tests.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health tells CityNews that no such modifications have been made for OHIP.

“There have not been any changes to tests covered under OHIP — Schedule of Benefits-Laboratory Services (SOB-LS) that may have led to a patient being charged,” they said.

“The Commitment to the Future of Medicare Act (CFMA) prohibits charges by any person or entity for insured services or access to insured services.”

But the misinformation became fodder on the campaign trail. In a now-deleted tweet, Tyler Watt, a Liberal candidate for Napean, said the Ford government “quietly” annulled several of these tests.

“Doug Ford’s Conservatives have appeared to quietly cancel a number of OHIP covered tests including cancer screenings which now cost $86,” the tweet read.

The executive director of Ontario’s Health Coalition (OHC) said that while it is true that the Ford government is privatizing many different health care services, they did not recently de-list blood tests.

“This is what’s happening. Some tests aren’t covered by OHIP because they aren’t medically necessary,” said Natalie Mehra. “Now, arguably some things that aren’t covered should be covered. So we’ve compiled a list of tests for which Ontarians are paying to see what the evidence is. But this is not a new cut done by Ford.”

Mehra says the Ford government changed two tests, which went into effect in 2020.

“They’ve been trying to switch the AST with the ALT test as a result of a question of medical effectiveness,” Mehra explained.

“The ALT test is covered. The AST is only covered under the following criteria: a specialist (not a GP) must order the test and indicate that it should be publicly covered. The tests are not for everyone — there needs to be actual medical need.”

LifeLabs “cannot bill individuals with OHIP coverage”

A majority of routine laboratory tests ordered by a family doctor are covered under OHIP, but there are specific tests that are not insured and must be paid for by the patient.

LifeLabs — self-described as Canada’s leader in laboratory diagnostic information and health connectivity solutions — says the provincial government dictates which tests are covered by OHIP.

“Our services are governed by partnerships with the provincial government which dictate scope, service-level, funding and standards of care,” LifeLabs said in a statement.

“There have not been any laboratory tests de-listed (i.e. removed with no replacement test) in the last five years under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan Schedule of Benefits for Laboratory Services. For more information on the Schedule of Benefits, please see here or contact the Ministry of Health directly.”


Laboratory testing company LifeLabs. Photo: Cole Burston/The Canadian Press.

The laboratory testing company says it cannot bill individuals with OHIP protection for tests covered by the program.

Many on social media have mentioned The Canada Health Act (CHA) — Canada’s federal legislation for publicly funded health care insurance — designed “to protect, promote and restore the physical and mental well-being of residents of Canada and to facilitate reasonable access to health services without financial or other barriers.”

Mehra pointed to another issue.

“When our public hospitals had outpatient labs, and we used to go get our tests there, there were virtually no charges. But they were systematically closed and privatized,” she said.

“When they privatized the public hospitals’ outpatient labs… everyone was forced to go to the private labs that charge what they can, and definitely charge for anything not expressly covered by OHIP. But again, that isn’t [Doug] Ford’s doing.”

The Ministry of Health says if a patient feels that they have been charged for an insured service, they can call the CFMA Program report line at 1-888-662-6613 or e-mail

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