Celiac Blood Test Covered by OHIP for next 5 Months in Ontario
After 10 years of advocacy work by staff and volunteers at the Canadian Celiac Association (CCA) National office, we are pleased to share a new pilot program by the Ontario Ministry of Health will cover the cost of initial blood screening to help diagnose celiac disease (CD) in Ontario at any approved community-based laboratory from November 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022.
Ontario has been the ONLY province in the country not to cover the blood screening test for CD. This is despite the tests being part of standard clinical practice around the world. Ontario patients have had to pay anywhere from $60-$150 for the test. For many families, this cost is unaffordable. This cost also impacts the ongoing disease management for currently diagnosed celiac disease patients who are required to monitor their bloodwork on an ongoing basis. The announcement from the Ontario Ministry of Health was made in a November 1 Info Bulletin.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) issued an OHIP Bulletin to all physicians, clinicians etc., who requisition lab services and encouraged them to participate in the pilot. Eight other blood tests are included. The Ministry has begun a pilot study from November 1 to March 31 where patients can receive OHIP insured (free) laboratory services for celiac disease (tTg IgA). The bulletin states, “The goal of the program is to increase access to these services to improve patient choice and access to testing services that are appropriate to be provided in a community setting.”
Please note: The free blood screening only qualifies for purposes of diagnosis only and NOT ongoing monitoring of symptoms.
“Many people with celiac disease remain undiagnosed for years, and Ontario has been the only province where celiac testing has not been covered by provincial insurance until now. Undiagnosed celiac patients may be struggling with symptoms that could be treated if their condition were diagnosed, and therefore, access to tests for celiac diagnosis was a big need in our community. The Celiac Clinic at McMaster University has been partnering with the Canadian Celiac Association to advocate for celiac testing access in the community for years, and it is very encouraging to see this first step moving forward. We are committed to continue providing support to our celiac community, and we hope that after this pilot the access for celiac testing remains permanent.”
– Maria Ines Pinto Sanchez, Celiac Clinic at McMaster University
What do I do Next?
Step 1: Get Tested.
If you live in Ontario and you think you or a family member have celiac disease and have not yet been formally diagnosed, you must be consuming gluten in order for the test to be accurate. The individual must be over 2 years of age.
- It is advised you have both the tTg-IgA and total IgA tests.
- Visit your health care practitioner who is eligible to order laboratory tests. This includes medical practitioners, dentists, midwives, registered nurses (extended class) and naturopaths.
- Have a current and valid OHIP Health Card
Step 2: Share the Good News!
Share the news with your friends and family who you think have chosen not to get tested because of cost.
CCA’s Vision: Every Canadian with celiac disease diagnosed and empowered.
This first step comes after 10 years of advocacy efforts of many volunteers and staff, 3,500+ petition signatures submitted BY YOU to Queens Park Delegations, presentations made at the Ontario Legislative Assembly, Budget Round Tables, and local meetings.
Let’s make sure this becomes a permanent addition to OHIP!
Watch the CCA’s website and social media channels for ways you can help all people who may have celiac disease in Ontario get timely diagnosis with OHIP-covered blood screening.
Media Contact: Melissa Secord, email@example.com