Travelling outside Québec involves many rules with its provincial health plan. The Régie de l’assurance maladie (board of Québec Medicare) provides support for the majority of medical costs in case of accident or illness occurring in the territory of the province. However, Quebecers enrolled in the RAMQ are often unaware that when they leave the territory of Québec to travel to another Canadian province or a country other than Canada, the standards for reimbursement following a medical problem will vary.
Reimbursement of medical expenses elsewhere in Canada
Travelers who are holders of a valid RAMQ health insurance card can claim reimbursement for health services received in another Canadian province. However, refunds may be partial. Some services are not covered by the health insurance plan.
The board of health insurance reimburses medical services provided by a doctor, dentist or optometrist up to the rates in effect in Québec. So if travelers do not have travel insurance taken out with an insurer, the fee not reimbursed by RAMQ will be dependent on them.
The Pan-Canadian Public Health Network
Canada has a national health system. Thus, hospital services are fully covered. These services include services associated with a hospital stay or services from hospital to outpatient (nursing, diagnostic, ward accommodation and drugs administered during hospitalization).
By cons, you should know that medical procedures such as surgery, doctor visits, etc., are paid to the pricing of Québec. If a traveler is to undergo any operation, you will probably pay surpluses since the Québec service fees are often lower than in some other provinces in Canada.
We must also think about repatriation to the province of Québec. If the traveler is hospitalized for a long time, they will probably wish to be back close to home. Back in Québec, costs can be quite expensive. In light of this information, travel insurance, even in Canada, is very useful.
Reimbursement of medical expenses for a trip outside of Canada
Following the points made above, it is obvious that for a beneficiary of the RAMQ bound for anywhere in the world, a travel insurance plan becomes even more important because medical costs are generally even higher abroad to non-residents. The amounts paid by Québec are minimal when the amounts can be astronomical in some countries. The Régie de l’assurance maladie (board of Québec Medicare) reimburses hospital services following a sudden illness or accident according to established amounts:
● Up to CA $ 100 per day of hospitalization
● Up of CA $ 50 per day for care received at the outpatient hospital.
La Régie also pays up to CA $ 220 for hemodialysis treatment and drugs attached to it, whether the person is hospitalized or not.
The reciprocal agreements on social security with other countries
Social security reciprocity agreements have been signed between the Government of Québec and Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Romania and Sweden. They benefit Quebecers who are travelers for longer stays in those countries to be covered by the health insurance plan offered in these countries, while avoiding a waiting period before being entitled to the protection offered. Steps are undertaken to advance this with the RAMQ.
The impact of travel time with the RAMQ
Anyone traveling outside of Québec and wishing to benefit from a private travel insurance to cover all emergency medical expenses must ensure to maintain their valid RAMQ card for the duration of the trip. Indeed, every traveler must follow certain rules:
● Québec authorizes to travel outside the province for 182 days per calendar year, from January 1 to December 31;
● Travel for 21 days or less are not accounted for example:
a) in January, you go 120 days to Florida
b) in July, you will spend 15 days in Old Orchard.
c) Total of the year: 120 days
2nd example: You want to go back to Florida in late October. If you were in Florida at the beginning of the year, make sure you calculate your days used since 1st January so as not to exceed your 182 days of the calendar year.
Other details relating to the count of days:
● As soon you leave Québec, the days add up even if you live in Canada.
● You should also know that Québec allows registrants to the RAMQ to leave the province more than 182 days once every 7 years (seven-year) without losing their rights to the health insurance card. A request must be made with the RAMQ.