The healthcare insurance system in Quebec is administered by the Ministry of Health and social services. This public health scheme is funded via income taxes. It gives all citizens free access to basic medical and hospital care through the health insurance card, also known as “carte soleil” (sun card). This card is issued by the Régie de l’Assurance Maladie du Québec (RAMQ) within three months following the application for registration. Please note that there is a three-month waiting period during which you will support all the expenses. However, agreements have been entered with Denmark, Finland, France, Belgium, Greece, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal and Sweden in order to receive reimbursement if medical services are provided during the waiting period. For this, you will have to provide the RAMQ with a certificate of enrollment with the healthcare system of one of the countries above mentioned.
Some treatments are not covered by the healthcare system like dental or orthopedic care. This is why it is necessary to take out private health insurance.
There are different categories of doctors in Quebec:
GPs who accept the health insurance card: you do not have to make cash advances and the doctor will be paid directly by the RAMQ.
Doctors called “opted out doctors”: in this case, you have to pay the consultation and send the bill to the RAMQ in order to be reimbursed.
Doctors called “nonparticipating doctors” who do not accept the health insurance card: you will have to support all the expenses and the RAMQ will not reimburse any consultation.
It is therefore important to check the type of doctor you will visit beforehand in order to avoid unpleasant situations. You can find the list of “opted out” and “non-participating” doctors issued by the Régie de l’Assurance Maladie du Québec (RAMQ) by clicking here.
Doctors see their patients from Monday to Friday from 8.00 am to 4.00 – 6.00 pm and on Saturday morning. They speak French and often English too.
There are not enough doctors in Quebec and waiting times to get an appointment may sometimes be very long, as is the case in the other provinces of Canada.
Specialist doctors in Quebec:
If you need specific treatment, your GP will refer you to a specialist doctor.
As there are only a few specialist doctors, waiting times to get an appointment are often very long.
This is why it is recommended that you go directly to an optician for a simple eye examination in order to avoid long waiting times. He/she will perform the necessary examination and will advise you on the appropriate eyeglasses. However, for most serious cases such as cataract, you will have to book an appointment with an ophthalmologist.
Being admitted to the hospital in Quebec
Hospitals in Quebec
Basic care may be provided in public hospitals but waiting times are often long.
Emergency services are open 24 hours a day in most hospitals but waiting times are also long. The most serious cases will be taken care of in priority.
The walk-in clinics
In Quebec there are walk-in clinics that generally operate during working hours, as is the case in the other Canadian provinces.
If you have trouble finding a GP, these clinics provide basic care and consultations without a prior appointment. As they are much appreciated, waiting times may be long. However, consultation fees are not higher than those of GPs.
In case of emergency, call 911
Buying drugs in Quebec
Over-the-counter drugs may be bought in supermarkets whereas prescription drugs must be bought in specific shops.
Drugs are delivered on a personalized basis: you will receive the exact number of drugs needed depending on how long your treatment is.
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Rachel vive no Togo e está com a MSH desde 2002. Após uma cirurgia de rotina, ficou em coma durante 2 meses. A sua hospitalização custou mais de 200 000 euros - mas foi tudo coberto pela MSH, sem que ela tivesse de tratar de nada. Graças à reatividade da equipa e à forma simples como lidou com a situação, a família de Rachel pôde evitar mais problemas - tal como Rachel quando acordou.
História: estavam presentes para ajudar o meu bebé
Laure e Robert mudaram para Singapura em 2014 em trabalho - mas acabaram por formar uma família lá também! Ela disse à MSH que estava grávida e ficou maravilhada com todo o apoio que recebeu. Primeiro, recebeu um guia prático sobre gravidez (o que fazer em cada fase, exames médicos, etc.) e, depois, um membro da equipa contactou-a para lhe explicar pessoalmente todas as garantias e aconselhá-la sobre o melhor local para o parto. No dia em que a filha dela nasceu, recebeu um presente com um gráfico de crescimento e um brinquedo para bebé, juntamente com os votos de felicidades da parte da MSH. E agora, está o segundo a caminho...
Petra estava preocupada com a cirurgia que tinha de fazer depois de um acidente em casa. Antes de tomar a sua decisão, quis uma segunda opinião. Graças ao seu seguro de saúde privado, que incluía a garantia de Segunda Opinião Médica, rapidamente foi à consulta de outro médico e obteve todas as respostas às suas perguntas. O segundo médico concordou com o facto de a cirurgia ser necessária e Petra foi para o hospital confortada e confiante.