Any person living in Québec must be present in Québec 183 days or more to remain eligible for health insurance.
It is necessary to inform the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec before any travel or stay outside Québec that contravenes this rule, to find out if one’s eligibility for health insurance will be maintained during this absence.
Québec has concluded social security agreements with certain countries. Generally speaking, these agreements apply to people who take up permanent residence in these countries or who go there for work, studies or an internship.
When travelling or when outside Québec temporarily, a person holding a valid Health Insurance Card can receive healthcare services covered by the Québec Health Insurance Plan. However, in most cases, the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec reimburses only part of the cost. This is why it is recommended to take out private insurance prior to departure.
Before requesting a reimbursement from the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec, a person who has private insurance should check with their insurer to see if the company will look after claiming the reimbursement from the RAMQ.
The Public Prescription Drug Insurance Plan provides basic coverage to any person who does not qualify for a group health insurance plan covering prescription drugs.
As a general rule, however, the public plan does not cover prescription drugs purchased outside Québec. Thus, a person who obtains their drugs outside the province is not entitled to a reimbursement from the RAMQ. The same applies when leaving Québec temporarily.
This is why it is recommended to take out travel insurance that covers prescription drugs. Before leaving Québec, a person can ask their pharmacist whether they may obtain the prescription drugs they will need during their absence.
If a person is outside Québec when their card is up for renewal, they must fill out and sign their renewal notice, write in the expected date of return and mail the notice to the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec.
Before travelling, it’s important to check if vaccines are required or recommended in the country where you’re planning to stay.
To find out more, consult a vaccination clinic specialized in travel health. Contact information for travel health clinics can be obtained by contacting your Centre local de services communautaires (CLSC ) or by calling Info-Santé 811.
Please note that the Government of Canada offers services and information on steps that should be taken to protect one’s health when traveling abroad.