Learning about healthcare services
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Learning about healthcare services

Health Insurance Plan

Medical care is available throughout Québec. It is covered by the Health Insurance Plan administered by the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ). All residents of Québec, as defined under the Health Insurance Act, are eligible for this Health Insurance Plan. They must register with the RAMQ to obtain a health insurance card.

This plan covers all essential medical care but not special treatments such as cosmetic surgery or so-called natural or alternative medical therapies. Before consulting a physician or other health specialist, make sure that he or she practises under the Québec Health Insurance Plan. If this is not the case, you will have to pay for the services rendered.


The health insurance card enables you to receive healthcare—medical services and hospitalization—covered by the Québec Health Insurance Plan.

Individuals settling in Québec are generally covered by the plan after a three-month waiting period following their registration with the RAMQ. Certain individuals are exempt from this waiting period. The RAMQ will inform you if the exemption applies to you or any member of your family. Persons subject to a waiting period must pay all costs for health services received during this period or take out private insurance.


- Contact the RAMQ as soon as you arrive so as not to delay your eligibility for the plan.

- If you take out private insurance, you must do so no later than five days after your arrival in Québec. After this time, it will be more difficult for you to get insurance. For more information, contact the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association Inc.


However, certain health care services may be provided free of charge during the waiting period: services related to pregnancy or required by victims of violence, as well as services for individuals suffering from an infectious disease that could affect public health.

Immigrants coming from countries that have a social security reciprocity agreement with Québec are exempt from this three-month waiting period. However, they must provide proof of insurance from the social security plan of the country of origin when registering with the RAMQ. Countries that have such an agreement with Québec are Denmark, Finland, France (submit the form SE-401-Q-207), Greece, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal and Sweden.

As a general rule, to be covered by the Health Insurance Plan, insured persons must not be absent from Quebec for more than 183 days during a calendar year.


To obtain your health insurance card

Upon your arrival, call or visit an RAMQ office without delay in order to provide the information required to register. The RAMQ will either give you a registration form to be completed or send you one by mail. Make sure that the information entered on the registration form is accurate, sign it and attach the required documents.

The RAMQ will send you a letter indicating the date on which you become eligible for the Health Insurance Plan and will subsequently send your health insurance card. Inform the RAMQ of any address change.

Each member of the family must have his or her own health insurance card. Keep your health insurance card with you at all times and never lend it to anyone.


Prescription drug insurance

All Quebecers must be covered by prescription drug insurance. To find out about the two types of insurance plans that offer this protection, visit the RAMQ website.


To learn more

Medical and social services
Health and social service centres
Emergency medical care
Dental care and oral surgery
Optometry services


Useful links

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Last modification : 2018-07-18
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