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Do you need travel insurance for trips within Canada?

Most Canadian travellers assume that their provincial health insurance covers them from coast to coast. But the coverage has limits that everyone should know about before taking a trip to another Canadian province. 

You must have a valid provincial health insurance card

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, as a result 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 

Some services are only partially reimbursed by RAMQ

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 your province or territory of residence. 

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, the cost can be high and not reimbursed by RAMQ. 

What RAMQ doesn’t cover

For your trips or stays outside Québec, RAMQ recommends purchasing private insurance before you leave to protect you in case of an accident or sudden illness.  

This insurance 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). 

Why purchase travel insurance? 

For help in a medical emergency 

Although we are in relatively familiar territory, it can be very reassuring to have a team of professionals at our disposal on whom we can count in the event of sudden illness or accident. 

Whatever the emergency, Travel Assistance responders are available 24/7 to help you get the help you need. 

To protect yourself in case of trip cancellation or lost luggage  

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 your control may force you 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. 


Discover Blue Cross travel insurance

Québec Blue Cross has been with you around the globe for more than 80 years. Find the right coverage for you and your trip with an online travel insurance quote