YOUR PROVINCIAL HEALTH
When you travel outside your home province you can’t always take the coverage offered by your provincial health care plan with you. Depending on your province of residence, there are important facts you should know about how and when you’re covered when you’re travelling, whether for business or pleasure. Purchasing a travel insurance policy is a simple way to eliminate the worry about your potential medical costs while abroad.
The Canadian provinces have a reciprocal agreement that allows them to bill each other for care provided to travelling Canadians outside of their home province. This agreement lets you show your province’s health care card in any Canadian province in order to receive coverage. The exception is the province of Quebec, which does not have a reciprocal agreement with any other province. This means Quebec residents have to pay for services up front and apply for reimbursement.
The same is true of travel outside of Canada, where no agreements are available and travellers are responsible for all medical bills incurred. The basics of provincial travel coverage differ slightly depending on your province of residence; here are a few of the things you can expect from your province.
The Western Provinces:
For British Columbia or Alberta residents: Your health plan will cover you in any province in Canada, except Quebec. In Quebec or outside of Canada, you will need to pay for services and apply for reimbursement. The coverage is extended only to care by physicians. Other practitioners such as chiropractors are not included; prescription drug coverage is not included either, so prescriptions should be obtained prior to travel.
Numerous exclusions apply, including ambulance transportation of injured people back to their home province. Albertans are covered for medically required oral care such as oral surgery when travelling, but not for routine care.
The Prairie Provinces:
Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents: You have the same reciprocal agreement as the other provinces, excluding Quebec. Saskatchewan residents can obtain medical care as well as prescription drugs in other provinces and have the services covered by their plan, while Manitobans must obtain drugs in their home province. Outside of Canada, Saskatchewan and Manitoba residents are required to pay out of pocket for all medical care, and then claim reimbursement upon their return. There are multiple exclusions to the coverage available while travelling; note that ambulance and transport are not covered at all.
For Ontario residents, the reciprocal agreement applies to all provinces except Quebec. Ontario’s health plan will cover you for physician and hospital services received in other provinces, as long as the services are received at a public-funded hospital. Prescription drugs purchased outside Ontario are not covered. Travel outside Canada requires that you pay up front and apply for reimbursement when you return; coverage is very limited and does not include ambulance or transport services.
The Maritime Provinces:
New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador all have a reciprocal agreement with each other as well as with all other provinces except Quebec. Newfoundland offers an Out of Province Coverage Certificate which ensures continued coverage for up to twelve months while travelling.
For all maritime province health plans, coverage outside of Canada is limited, payments must be made up front and reimbursement claimed upon return.
Quebec is unique in Canada in that it does not have an agreement for direct billing for health care services with any other province. Residents of Quebec should therefore expect to pay out of pocket for any medical services obtained while travelling outside the province, whether in Canada or outside the country. Some services are reimbursable, while others are not.
In addition to the provinces, the territories of Canada also offer health coverage for their residents. Both the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, as well as the Yukon Territory, have reciprocal agreements with the provinces other than Quebec, but outside of Canada all costs must be paid up front.
Even if you are in good health, an accident or sudden illness can happen anywhere, and to anyone. Your provincial health plan provides only limited coverage when you travel – severely limited for travel outside of Canada. Leaving home without travel health insurance can leave you in a very difficult financial situation, so make sure you are well covered.
Check with your provincial health care plan for further details:
Newfoundland and LabradorClick here
Prince Edward Island: Click here
Nova Scotia: Click here
New Brunswick: Click here
Quebec: Click here
Ontario: Click here
Manitoba: Click here
Saskatchewan: Click here
Alberta: Click here
British Comunbia: Click here
Northwest Territories: Click here
Nunavut: Click here
Yukon: Click here