Ontario has just said it will pay $39 million to optometrists in the province to cover the increased costs of services funded by the government. This one-time transaction will happen because optometrists threatened to stop performing eye exams covered by provincial health insurance in September. The province hopes the payment will be sufficient as they want to preserve access to eye care.
The Ontario government and the Ontario Association of Optometrists are still negotiating. Topics being discussed include operating costs, future fee increases, and provincial health insurance. The Ontario Association of Optometrists claims that it has been subjected to “years of underfunding,”
The association noted that in 1989, the average cost for an eye exam was $39.15 and now it is at $44.65. This situation forced some optometrists to absorb 45 per cent of the cost of an eye exam. The Ontario Health Insurance Plan covers one annual major eye exam for anyone living in Ontario aged 19 and younger, 65 and older, and people with specific medical conditions.
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