A lot more than $1 billion in new medical bills will be hitting the Toronto and Vancouver markets over the next few years.
The Ontario Medical Association says it’s looking at about $500 million in additional costs for 2017.
It says the Ontario government will provide $25 million in funding to help cover some of those costs, but that the provincial government is looking for more help to make sure those costs are paid.
Ontario’s Medical Services Commission (OSC) has also raised its 2017 budget for the coming fiscal year by $2.8 billion to $1.9 billion.
That includes $1 million from the province to help with the cost of the $500-million increase in medical insurance premiums that will come in January, said Dr. Marc Dubé, president of the OSC.
Ontario also announced a $2 million rebate to the provincial Medical Services Corp. to help offset some of the costs.
The OSC also released a new budget this week for 2019, which it expects to cover some medical costs that it hasn’t covered before.
The latest OSC budget, released Wednesday, also covers about $400 million in other costs such as costs for the Ontario Medical Protective Order Act and other court-ordered care.
Dubé says it will be important for the government to get the cost down as it looks at what to do about the rise in hospitalizations.
The provincial government has not yet said how it will meet the increase in costs.
There is also an increase in provincial workplace health insurance premiums, but Dubé said the OSC hasn’t received any requests for that yet.
It’s expected that the government will look at how to mitigate some of these costs, he said.
He added that he is not surprised the OSA has raised its budget.
The government announced a year ago that it was introducing an annual increase of 1.3 per cent to the annual health care premium to help pay for higher prescription drug costs and the costs of medical tests.
That increase, Dubé noted, is already paying for itself.
The increase is expected to come into effect in April 2020.
Dube said he hopes the Ontario medical association will be able to work with the province on how to deal with those costs.