As a new immigrant to Quebec, one of your first jobs should be to apply for a Quebec health card. This card is the record of your Quebec health number and is proof of your eligibility for free healthcare under Quebec’s Health Insurance Plan (QHIP).
The plan is administered by Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec, known as RAMQ.
You will need to provide your health card whenever you access health care in Quebec. You will also need it when registering with a family doctor.
In this post, we will give you an overview of the Canadian and Quebec healthcare systems and explain in simple terms how to apply for a Quebec health card.
For more information on Canadian health care and other provincial health cards, refer to our article on applying for health cards in Canada.
Canadian Healthcare – An Overview
Canada’s excellent healthcare system provides free primary care to eligible residents. Healthcare is publicly funded and administered at the provincial level. The provincial systems operate similarly, but there is some variation in coverage.
Your provincial plan will also provide basic coverage while travelling within other provinces and territories. However, you will probably have to pay upfront for health care in other provinces and then claim it back from RAMQ.
If you move province permanently, you will need to re-register for healthcare with your new province.
How To Apply For A Quebec Health Card – The Basics
The following sections explain how to apply for a Quebec health card, but some basic facts about the process are given below:
|Health Plan Name||QHIP|
|Cost of Application||Free|
|Ongoing Insurance Cost||Free|
|Processing Time||Up To 45 Days|
|Wait Period (moving from outside Canada)||0-3 Months*|
|Wait Period (moving from within Canada)||2-3 Months|
*Depends On Country Of Origin
Who Is Eligible For Quebec Health Insurance Plan?
As a resident of Quebec, you will be eligible for health care if:
- You are lawfully entitled to be in Canada, AND Quebec is your primary residence, AND You will be present in Quebec for at least 183 days in your first year.
- You are in Quebec on a work permit of at least 6 months. Seasonal workers are also eligible in certain circumstances.
- You are in Quebec on a study permit of at least 6 months, AND you are from one of the following countries: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, or Sweden.
Who Isn’t Eligible For Quebec Health Insurance Plan?
You won’t qualify for coverage if:
- You are in Quebec on a study permit and are NOT from one of the following countries: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, or Sweden.
- You are a student from another province or territory and plan to return to your home province after your studies. However, you will still receive coverage from your home province while in Quebec.
What Is The Wait Period For QHIP?
Moving From A Country WITH A Reciprocal Agreement
If you move to Quebec from one of the counties listed below, there is no waiting period for QHIP coverage. You will become eligible for coverage as soon as your application is approved.
Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Sweden
Moving From A Country WITHOUT A Reciprocal Agreement
If you move from a country not listed above, you will need to wait for your coverage. In this situation, you will become eligible for QHIP coverage on the 1st day of the 3rd month following the date you became a resident.
For example: if you become a permanent Quebec resident on July 12th, your coverage will start on October 1st.
To ensure coverage during these first months, it’s recommended that you take out private health insurance.
Moving From Another Province
If you move to Quebec from another province, you will also have to wait for coverage until the 1st day of the 3rd month following the date you became a resident.
However, you will continue to receive basic coverage from your previous province or territory in the interim period.
How To Apply For A Quebec Health Card
Most people can now register online for the Quebec Health Insurance Plan. The required documents will vary depending on your situation, but you will be guided through the online process and given details of the documents you must attach.
You must be in apply for a Quebec health card when you are in Quebec. You will need to provide your address in Quebec.
What Is Covered By Quebec Health Insurance Plan?
Quebec will cover you for medically necessary healthcare services such as:
- Visits to general practitioners, surgeons and other doctors
- Hospital services
- Some prescription drugs
- Psychiatric care
- Vaccinations under the Quebec Immunisation Program
- Certain radiology services that are provided by a medical practitioner
- Some optometric services (conditions apply)
- Routine dental treatment for children under 10
Are You Planning A Move To Canada?
Are you wondering whether to make the move and have endless questions?
We have the answers to these and many more questions.
We have the answer to these and many more questions.
What Isn’t Covered By Quebec Health Insurance Plan?
Quebec QHIP won’t cover you for the following services:
- Cosmetic services
- Ambulance transportation
- Complementary or alternative medical treatments, such as chiropractor, acupuncture, physiotherapy, and occupational therapist
- MRIs and CAT scans
- Echography conducted by any medical practitioner other than a radiologist
- Services by medical professionals who do not participate in the province’s public health plan
- Corrective laser surgery or other eye surgery aimed at doing away with eyeglasses or contact lenses.
- treatment of varicose veins by injection and the examination made at that time in a private medical office
- psycho-analysis (except when rendered in an authorized facility)
- consultations by phone, fax, email or regular mail
Many Canadians have private supplementary insurance for medical services that aren’t covered by the provincial plan. Employers often include supplementary health coverage in employee benefits, or you can acquire your own coverage.
What Is The Public Prescription Drug Insurance Plan?
It is mandatory in Quebec to have prescription drug insurance coverage. The Public Prescription Drug Insurance Plan is a government-administered plan for those who don’t have access to private prescription insurance. There is a premium payable for this plan.
How Do I Register With A Family Doctor In Quebec?
Once you receive your health card, you can register with any family doctor in your area accepting new patients.