Most people who reside in Canada neglect to purchase travel insurance when taking trips within the country, assuming their provincial health insurance plan covers them from coast to coast. However, this coverage has various limitations which are important to know before travelling to another Canadian province.
What provincial health insurance doesn’t cover
When you travel within Canada, your provincial health plan offers basic coverage to reimburse the costs of a hospital visit following an accident or sudden illness.
In fact, by virtue of Interprovincial health insurance agreements, most hospital services will be covered by the Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ)—provided, of course, that you are eligible. This includes among others:
- Accommodation in a ward (a room with 3 or more beds)
- Diagnostic procedures
- Nursing care
- Prescription drugs administered during hospitalization
Provincial health insurance does not cover everything!
Health insurance in each province or territory has limitations. So, wherever you are in Canada, you may have to pay for costs that are not included in your provincial coverage. Ambulance trips, emergency dental care and medical devices are some examples of services that are not reimbursed by the RAMQ.
Similarly, health services provided by a health professional (such as doctors, optometrists, dentists, etc.) will be reimbursed up to the rates that are effective in Quebec.
Therefore, if you see a doctor during your trip, they may require you to pay the difference out of pocket between the fees billed in your province of residence and the ones in the province you are visiting. Depending on the services received, these amounts could represent several hundred dollars, and they will not be reimbursed by the RAMQ.
The benefits of travel insurance
Travel insurance that covers you in the event of an accident or sudden illness will allow you to receive reimbursement for various expenses that are not generally covered by your public health insurance plan, such as:
- Emergency dental care
- Accessories and medical devices prescribed by the attending physician (splints, crutches, prostheses, etc.)
- Prescription drugs prescribed in a medical emergency
- Ambulance transportation costs
- Emergency medical repatriations to your province or territory of residence, if this service is considered necessary and safe
- Urgent dermatological care
- The services of different types of health professionals (physiotherapist, podiatrist, chiropractor, etc.)
- Accommodation costs in a private or semi-private room
- The part of the costs that would normally be charged to you for consultations outside a hospital (difference between the rates in effect in the province you are visiting and the ones in which you reside).
Assistance at all times, in all circumstances
Although we are in relatively familiar territory, it can be very reassuring to have at our disposal a team of professionals on whom we can count in the event of sudden illness or accident.
Whatever the emergency, the staff of travel assistance service is available around the clock to help you get the assistance you need.
Additional benefits to protect you
In addition to insuring you for emergency medical care, travel insurance offers you various options allowing you to obtain comprehensive coverage that meets all your needs.
- Trip Cancellation or Interruption insurance*
Different situations beyond our control may force us to postpone, cancel or end a trip prematurely. With insurance that covers you in the event of trip cancellation or interruption, you’ll be able to get reimbursed for all prepaid, non-refundable travel expenses. This includes the cost of accommodations, transportation and activities.
- Insurance covering baggage loss or theft
This insurance allows you to obtain reimbursement in the event of loss, theft or vandalism. Your coverage is added to the one offered by the Air Passenger Bill of Rights (Air Passenger Protection Regulations) in the event of damage sustained while travelling by plane.
*Since March 12, 2020, the Trip Cancellation or Interruption insurance no longer covers COVID-19 because we consider it to be a known and uninsurable cause. For more information, please see our FAQ on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Québec Blue Cross® offers several travel insurance options to allow you to maintain your peace of mind throughout your stay. Depending on the type of trip you plan to take, find the coverage that best meets your needs by getting a free online travel insurance quote or by asking your travel advisor or your insurance broker.
Regional Sales Manager, Travel Insurance
Article updated on August 20, 2020.