It's been 25 years coming, but it's finally happening. Ontario has set an official date for when you will officially have to say goodbye to your old health cards. Ontario's red and white health cards will be expiring as of July 1, 2020.  Currently, about 300,000 Ontarians own the original, photoless OHIP document. Unlike their newer green counterparts, the red health cards did not need to be renewed after they were issued. The lack of photo, signature, and the lack of an expiry date made these cards easier to perform fraud with. Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott confirmed to City News that the old IDs are indeed more susceptible to fraudulent activity than the newer ones. Everyone who still owns a red health card will get a notice about their termination this month, according to CBC. They will then receive and a reminder to get a new card every month until they have done so. Christine Elliott told CP24 that if people show up to a hospital with the old OHIP document after July 1, they will receive a hospital bill. She did mention, however, that the person would be reimbursed as soon as they get their new health card up and running. The 300,000 people that still have the vintage verification cards only make up 2% of the cards that are currently circulating across the province. 

According to CP24, Ontario said they would start phasing out the old piece of plastic in 1994. They were only issued four years prior, but fraud issues made them a concern. Due to this, the government started issuing the green health cards in 1995. However, it took them until now to completely phase the red cards out. 

In 1995, it was estimated that around $65 million in fraudulent activities each year was made possible by the unsecured red cards. A report by an auditor, which was highlighted by CP24, states that the fraudulent activity was the highest in communities that bordered the U.S., and they presumed that a lot of the cards had gotten into the hands of Americans. 

In May of last year, the government announced their plan to eliminate the red health cards, as they have planned to do plenty of times before.  July 1 is the last day your old health card can be used, so if you need to, get your new one sooner rather than later. You can make the switch for free at any ServiceOntario location near you. You can also find more information on how to switch online

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