Assistive Devices Coverage: Ontario Compared to Other High-Income Jurisdictions

PDF cover of rapid review 5, purple top banner

Rapid Review 5, prepared for Converge3, October 2018

Gregory P. Marchildon and Allie Peckham

English – [PDF]

Assistive technologies or devices have been defined as any piece of equipment or products that are used to maintain or improve an individual’s functional capabilities. Coverage of assistive technologies (ATs) has been shaped by two different policy regimes—disability policy and health policy. However, high-income jurisdictions have varying approaches to coverage for assistive technologies with differences in the eligibility, types of devices covered, and cost-sharing approaches. These rapid reviews compare coverage policies in eight countries (Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the United Kingdom) for four categories of ATs. The following rapid reviews involve an in-depth assessment of programs within each jurisdiction using a common definition of ATs and a core set of questions. In more broadly drawn universal health coverage (UHC) systems, such as the five western European countries, ATs tend to be part of UHC although patient contributions are also common albeit based on different rationales. In the more narrowly drawn UHC systems in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, ATs tend to be part of separate extended health benefit programs and are accompanied by user fees and access restrictions. All systems have reasonably strict rules on eligibility for coverage in terms of proving disability although they vary in the requirement on the permanence of the disability.