In Quebec, medical service is available free of charge and is of a high standard. This benefit is available through the Quebec Health Insurance Plan. Almost all services are covered by this public plan including, medical and hospital visits, some eye care, some dental care and other individual goods and services such as hearing aids or transit assistance for the physically impaired. Certain items not covered by the public plan are often covered (sometimes up to 90%) by employer private health care plans.
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A feature of how health care is administered to the public that is unique to Quebec is its network of public health clinics called CLSCs. These offer a variety of services free of charge including: prenatal care, social services, and general health services. CLSCs operate in conjunction with hospitals, and medical practitioners to form part of the health care offering of each citizen. There are also numerous private clinics, some specializing in specific services that offer services, for an additional cost. Sometimes, patients will opt to pay for a consultation or procedure at a private clinic in order to avoid wait times in the public system.
In order to obtain health care in Quebec, you must have your health insurance card. It will be requested wherever you get medical attention. Everyone must have one. Children under 14 may get a card without their picture on it. The card is non transferable and must not be lent out to anyone. Criminal prosecution may result if you give your card to someone else. If you do not have your card with you when obtaining medical services, you will have to pay for the service and then get reimbursed by the government at a later date.
If you will be in Quebec for more than six months, you are considered a resident, for purposes of the health insurance plan and you must obtain this card. However, there is a delay of three months before your coverage will become effective. You must therefore register for health care upon arrival in the province but obtain private health insurance for the period of the three month delay before your public coverage becomes active. The Quebec government has reached agreements with certain countries waiving this three month eligibility period.
In order to obtain your health card you must contact:
When you call this number, you will be asked to explain your status and an official will tell you what documents you must bring to obtain your card.