Every year, more than 685,000 ambulance transportation services are provided in Québec. Ambulance transportation to a hospital centre is not free, however, and the user is charged a fee, except where an exemption applies. The fee charged covers only a portion of the actual cost of ambulance transportation, since the majority of the funding for the pre-hospital emergency system is borne by the Gouvernement du Québec.
The cost of ambulance transportation charged to the user includes a basic fee of $125 plus $1.75 per kilometre travelled to the hospital centre. A fee of $35 is charged for any additional patient. For ambulance transportation for a person who does not live in Canada, the basic fee is $400 plus $1.75 per kilometre travelled. Rates may be indexed annually. There is no additional charge for someone accompanying the person being transported.
The fee for transportation by ambulance to a hospital centre must be paid by the person being transported, even if someone else called the 9‑1‑1 emergency service to request an ambulance.
Group or individual insurance policies often cover all or part of the cost of ambulance transportation. Ask your insurer if your insurance policy includes this coverage.
In some cases, the Gouvernement du Québec, through its ministries and public agencies, covers the full cost of ambulance transportation:
person transported between two institutions in the health and social services network: cost covered by the two institutions concerned;
person 65 years of age or older and person receiving income security benefits: cost covered by the hospital centre the person was transported to or by the Ministère du Travail, de l'Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale, subject to the attending physician’s approval.
A person who is eligible for an exemption from the Gouvernement du Québec may be required to pay for ambulance transportation if it is not considered medically necessary.
In some cases, the federal government pays for ambulance transportation: