Seniors

Home-based health card renewal

Senior Living

Posted 5 hours ago

KRISTINE MACDOUGALL

Tillsonburg News

The Ontario government is making it easier for seniors aged 80 and over to renew their health cards from the comfort and privacy of their own homes.

The province recently introduced a new mail-in renewal service for seniors over the age of 80, which will allow them to apply for their new health cards by completing and signing the back of their renewal notices and returning them to Service Ontario in a pre-addressed envelope, via regular mail delivery.

This is great news for many local seniors here in Tillsonburg. One of them, 80-year-old Joyce Squire just renewed her health card in December 2011.

“I think it’s wonderful that we don’t have to go out of our own home. People can fill out (the form) in privacy if they want,” she said, mentioning the recent hassle she and family members endured while renewing her health card last month.

“My son came down and got me and took me to London to renew it,” said Squire. “It was raining, it was miserably cold and almost snowing. We went to the building, up two floors and had to fill out a form, then we had to take a number and wait.

We were there quite a while,” she said.

The change is part of the McGuinty government’s claim to put families first by making government services faster, friendlier and easier to access.

The new mail-in renewal service also means seniors over the age of 80 won’t have to wait in lines or make trips through winter weather to renew their health cards.

Ontario’s Minister of Government Services stated, “Renewing your health card in a timely fashion is even more important as we age. By allowing eligible seniors to renew their health cards by mail, we’re making life just a little bit easier for Ontario’s older seniors and their caregivers.”

Elsie Rohrer, 88 agrees with her friend Squire and says it will not just benefit seniors but also the health care system itself.

“I think it’s a great thing,” said Rohrer. “Seniors, especially if they have to go out at this time of year, could fall very easily and break a hip – which would be more expensive to the health care system.”

In addition, Rohrer believes it will reduce the number of people waiting in line-ups, be beneficial for the Service Ontario centers by helping reduce the amount of paperwork for both patrons and Service Ontario workers.

Having the option to fill out a form and renew their health cards from home, also means less technology for seniors to deal with and a familiarity with Canada Post, that seniors have come to know and appreciate for many years.

“When I was there (at Service Ontario in London), there were people there that really shouldn’t have been out on a day like it was,” said Squire. “And waiting so long there, they were getting irritated and they were excited and to do that in front of people too – it’s better to have it done at home.”

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