Guide to Quebec Health Insurance for Students and Foreign Workers

The Régie de l’assurance maladie Québec (RAMQ) offers healthcare coverage for students and foreign workers residing in Quebec. Foreign nationals must meet certain conditions and maintain their presence within the province in order to qualify for the Quebec Health Insurance Plan.


Healthcare Coverage for Quebec Permanent Residents

Foreign nationals who intend to take up residence in Quebec may apply to be considered for coverage under the Quebec Health Insurance Plan. Following registration with the RAMQ, there is a waiting period of up to three months before a decision is made.

It is recommended that all foreign nationals who intend on remaining in Quebec register with the RAMQ upon arrival in the province. 

In most cases, medical care received during the waiting period is not covered by the Quebec Health Insurance Plan and will not be reimbursed. During this time, foreign nationals should take out private insurance.

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Healthcare Coverage for Temporary Stays in Quebec

Those staying in Quebec temporarily, such as international students or temporary foreign workers may also be eligible for coverage under Quebec’s Health Insurance Plan. The level of healthcare coverage depends on several factors. The immigration document received upon entry will provide you with more details about your eligibility.

Those who may qualify for temporary health insurance include:

  • Temporary and seasonal workers
  • Students or trainees under an official scholarship program of the Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur du Québec
  • The spouse or child of a worker or scholarship holder
  • A resident of a country that has a social security agreement with Quebec
  • A person covered by an agreement with a Quebec-based international organization

Eligibility for Quebec Health Insurance Plan

Extended stays outside the province could render you ineligible for Quebec healthcare coverage. RAMQ is able to verify your presence in Quebec.

If you are found to be in violation of the conditions of your Quebec healthcare coverage, you could be asked to repay all costs associated with any healthcare services you received throughout the year.

For Quebec Permanent Residents:

In order to remain eligible for healthcare coverage in Quebec, you must remain within the province for a minimum of 183 days per calendar year (January 1 – December 31).

Exceptions may apply for certain prolonged absences. For example if you are pursuing studies, working, or training outside Quebec, you may be able to retain your Quebec healthcare coverage.

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For Temporary Stays in Quebec:

Foreign nationals who are staying in Quebec temporarily and that qualify for the Quebec Health Insurance Plan may lose their eligibility if they are absent from the province for more than 21 days at a time.

In order to maintain your eligibility, you must notify the RAMQ prior to leaving the province.

Healthcare Coverage Outside of Quebec

Some foreign nationals may be granted permission to leave for a period of longer than 21 days while maintaining their Quebec healthcare coverage. In this case, they would also be covered for certain services outside of Quebec.

It is generally recommended that all persons take out private health insurance when traveling outside of Quebec. The RAMQ usually only covers a portion of any treatment administered outside of the province.