Big changes are coming to OHIP+.

Starting on April 1, Ontarians with private health plans will no longer be able to reap the benefits of free prescriptions.

Last year, the health minister called it a cost-effective plan that will save taxpayers money. Now, some are saying it will do the opposite.

Insurance consultant Jeff Kechnie says he’s getting a lot of calls from concerned clients.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty around it,” he says. “People are just wondering if it’s going to cost them more money, and in some cases it will.”

The OHIP+ program will no longer cover those with private insurance under the age of 25.

For example, if the private plan covers 80 per cent of your prescription, the remaining 20 per cent would have to be paid out of pocket.

Those without coverage will remain automatically enrolled.

“We are reverting back to, call it the ‘old way’ of providing insurance,” he says.

Kechnie owns the Kechnie Financial Centre. He says the changes will mean a big blow to business. The worry is that premiums will go up as a result of more claims coming in.

The Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association says it supports the government’s plans, adding that private insurance should always be used to pay first.

“We support any public funds going to people who need them, i.e. people who don’t have insurance or are underinsured,” says Joan Weird with the CLHIA.

Until April 1, the current OHIP+ program remains in place, offering 4,400 prescription drugs free of cost to children and young adults, regardless of private benefit plans.