Do you know your employer can enroll you in a private insurance plan through the government’s health care program? The healthcare system in Quebec is an integral part of the province’s culture, so it’s important for you to understand how it works, especially if you are an immigrant living and working in Quebec.

The Quebec health care system is a universal, publicly funded health care insurance plan in the Canadian province of Quebec. It is managed by a government agency called Régie de l’assurance Maladie du Québec. The health care system covers most routine services without a copayment or deductible, such as doctor and dentist visits.

Our guide compiles all the information about Quebec Health Care, including its structure, area of coverage, and the various plans it offers. Let’s take a peek at it.

Québec Health Care System

Health care in Québec is provided through a public health insurance plan administered by the government of Québec. The Health Insurance Act governs it.

The Québec Health Care System is a universal, comprehensive, and integrated system which provides medical care and hospitalization coverage to all residents of Québec, regardless of their income or employment status.

Moreover, Québec’s health care system provides access to essential medical services based on need. It covers most of the cost of prescription drugs, dental care, and eye care. Healthcare professionals work together in teams to provide you with quality care.

The Department of Health and Social Services is responsible for administering the health care system in Québec. It also promotes healthy living through public awareness campaigns, research, and surveillance programs to identify emerging health issues. There are two types of health care providers in Québec: private and public.

The RAMQ (Régie de l’assurance Maladie du Quebec) a crown corporation, administers the public health insurance plan on behalf of the government; it offers both an indemnity program and a drug reimbursement program.

The RAMQ also regulates private health insurance plans, which can be purchased by individuals or employers but must conform to specific standards set by the government.

Québec Health Insurance Card

The Québec health insurance plan (QHIP) is an insurance plan that covers all residents of the province. The Quebec Health Insurance Plan is administered by the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec. This agency is responsible for managing and paying benefits to healthcare providers in the province.

The Quebec Health Insurance Card is your proof of coverage. It is a plastic card with your photo and signature on it. The card identifies and pays for services at hospitals, doctor’s offices, clinics, and pharmacies. You should always carry it with you, even if the RAMQ does not insure you.

It is your proof of coverage and allows you to receive medical services without paying out of pocket. You will also be reimbursed for some expenses related to the care you receive.

When dealing with health professionals, have your Québec health insurance card available at all times. It will make things easier for everyone involved. 

If you do not have your card when receiving medical services in Quebec, you may be asked to pay the total amount of the bill before receiving treatment.

Public Health Insurance

The government pays for public health insurance. Quebec has a public health insurance system, which means that all residents are required by law to have a basic level of coverage. It is called the Quebec Health Insurance Plan (QHIP).

The QHIP covers doctor visits, hospital stays, prescription drugs, and other medical expenses. However, there are some exceptions to this rule:

The public health insurance plan is managed by the RAMQ (Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec). The RAMQ handles all claims submitted by doctors and dentists, as well as prescription drugs and other medical supplies.

The public health insurance plan covers all residents of Quebec who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents. It also covers some temporary residents, including foreign students and foreign workers.

To be eligible for Public health insurance coverage, you must:

  • Be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada;
  • Be physically present in Québec for 183 days in any 12 months;
  • If you are coming to Quebec to work or study, you must have a legal work permit or study permit.

Private Health Insurance

In Quebec, health care is provided by the government, but people can opt for private health insurance to cover services not covered by the public plan.

If you’re moving to Quebec from another province and aren’t eligible for the provincial plan, consider buying private health insurance. Private health insurance may help cover some or all of the costs associated with receiving medical services in Quebec.

Private health insurance may be purchased on a group basis through an employer or individually through a non-group market such as the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Québec Health Coverage

The healthcare system in Quebec is among the best in Canada and offers universal coverage. It is a public-funded system, meaning there is no cost to receive medical treatment.

The province provides health care coverage for all residents of Quebec who are Canadian citizens or legal residents. Those who do not meet these requirements may be eligible for coverage through their spouse or parent’s plan.

For you to be eligible for coverage under this plan, you must be a resident of Quebec. Also, if you are moving from another province or country, you must wait three months before becoming eligible for this plan.

Residents of Quebec who want to add private health insurance to their provincial plan can purchase supplemental coverage through an insurance company or their employer. Supplementary insurance covers services not included in the public system, such as ambulance rides and dental care.

When shopping for supplemental insurance in Quebec, it’s essential to understand your needs and budget so you can find the right type of policy for you. In addition to basic coverage options, plans provide more comprehensive benefits at an additional cost.

It’s important to consider whether you will be covered outside of Canada when researching supplemental health insurance since some plans may not include international coverage or may only provide it at an extra cost.

Check Out Quebec’s Healthcare:

Québec Health Care Services

Quebec’s healthcare system provides all residents with access to the same level of care. The Quebec Health care system (RAMQ) provides universal health insurance coverage to all Quebecers.

 Its mission is to administer and manage the public healthcare system in Quebec, including hospitals, clinics and pharmacies, and home care services for seniors and disabled persons.

The Ministry of Health and Social Services oversees the implementation and enforcement of RAMQ policies and procedures on behalf of Quebecers and their families. Some of the primary services are: 

Family Doctors (GPs)

If you’re a new resident of Québec, you will need to enroll with a family doctor. Family doctors are the main source of primary care services in Québec. They provide complete care for the entire family and coordinate all care from prevention to rehabilitation.

Family doctors provide care for all ages, from birth to the elderly, including women’s health issues such as prenatal visits and contraception.

Your family doctor can refer you to specialists, prescribe medications, and order laboratory tests, x-rays, and other diagnostic tests. Your family doctor will also ensure that you receive the appropriate follow-up care when needed.

Neighbourhood Walk-in Clinics (CLSCs)

If you need medical care but don’t have a doctor, you can go to one of the neighbourhood walk-in clinics (CLSCs). The CLSCs are community-based clinics that provide primary health services at affordable prices. You can go there to see a doctor or nurse practitioner and get a prescription or referral to another health professional. 

They are open during regular hours of operation on weekdays and weekends, depending on your location. The CLSCs offer family medicine, nursing, laboratory, pharmacy, and specialties such as pediatrics or psychiatry.

You can access the CLSCs without an appointment if there are no waiting lists or your condition is not urgent. However, you must book your appointment first if you need to see one of our specialists or have a specific problem requiring a physician referral.

Campus Clinics

Several universities, colleges, and technical schools have on-campus clinics. The clinics are staffed by professionals familiar with students’ needs. They provide advice on questions related to health and well-being and preventive care.

They also offer treatment for minor illnesses and injuries. If necessary, they can refer you to other healthcare providers or make an appointment for a follow-up visit. The following universities offer various healthcare services to students.

How to Find a Specialist?

You may need to see a specialist if you have a complex condition, such as cancer or heart disease. If you’re unsure whether you need a specialist, start with your doctor. Your doctor may refer you to a specialist if they think it’s necessary.

Your doctor can help you find a specialist by asking questions about your symptoms, taking a detailed medical history, and performing a physical exam.

Next, you can find a specialist online or in a directory. Many directories available on the internet have a comprehensive list of specialists across Canada and provide detailed information about each specialty.

When you’re looking for a specialist, you should consider the following factors:

  • Is the doctor board-certified?
  • What are their credentials?
  • What type of experience do they have?
  • How many years have they been in practice?

How to Make an Appointment for a Consultation?

To make an appointment with a health care professional, call the CLSC where they are located or contact them by email. The CLSC will ask you questions to determine what kind of assistance you are looking for.

They will make the appointment immediately if it is an urgent case. Unless urgent, they will schedule the consultation later in the week or month.

You can also schedule your appointment online by visiting Bonjour-santé or using the free service of Clic Santé for free booking appointments.

24/7 Emergency Care

Québec Health Care is a 24/7 emergency care service available to all Québecers as part of their health insurance. In case of any emergency or need help, you have the following options:

911 [Emergencies]

Instances considered life-threatening, such as heart attacks and strokes, require immediate medical attention. In an emergency, you can get help in Quebec by dialling 911.

811 [Information]

811 is the provincial information and referral service that provides healthcare advice and helps you connect with the proper healthcare professional. If you are unsure what to do or where to go, 811 can help.


How much Does it Cost to See a Doctor in Québec?

The cost of seeing a doctor depends on your age and whether you have private or public health insurance. The cost also varies from clinic to clinic. Some clinics charge less than others. In general, private clinics charge more than public ones because they offer convenience by being open later and on weekends.

The average price of seeing a general practitioner (GP) is $120 per visit, though some clinics charge $250 or more for this service. A specialist will charge between $100 and $400 for an appointment.

If you have insurance from your home province, you can use your card at any Quebec clinic without paying extra service fees. Quebec also has public health insurance that covers all citizens and permanent residents of Canada who are working or studying here.

By law, all workers must pay into this public plan through their employer; however, if your employer does not offer coverage, you can purchase private insurance plans. 

Is Medication Free in Québec?

Yes, in Québec, we prescribe medication free of charge. You do not have to pay for medication. The government of Québec offers free medication to all eligible persons and their families who are covered by the RAMQ (Régie de l’assurance Maladie du Québec) program.

The RAMQ (Régie de l’assurance Maladie du Québec) covers all drugs prescribed by a licensed physician and dispensed by a pharmacist in Québec. If you have a valid RAMQ card, you can get your prescription medications free at any pharmacy in Québec.
If you do not have private insurance coverage to cover your medication, you will likely pay nothing or very little for your prescription drug costs at the pharmacy counter.

Do you Need Private Health Insurance in Québec?

In most cases, no. If you live in Québec and have a valid provincial health card, most of your medical expenses will be covered by RAMQ. The only exceptions are prescription drugs and some dental treatments, which RAMQ doesn’t cover. 
If you receive medical care outside Canada or abroad and are billed directly for these services, your costs won’t be reimbursed by RAMQ.

However, If you’re not a resident of Québec, you need private health insurance when visiting or working here. This is because the provincial government provides universal healthcare coverage for residents of Québec only.

Residents of other Canadian provinces or territories may be covered by their home province’s health care system if they meet specific criteria (e.g., having lived in that province for more than three months).

However, if you’re not eligible for coverage through your home province, you must purchase private health insurance before coming to Québec.

How do I Get Free Prescriptions in Canada?

You can get free prescriptions in Canada if you are a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada, or have refugee status in Canada.

Moreover, The Canadian government provides prescription drug coverage for people not covered by private insurance plans. The provincial governments administer this program, and it’s called Pharmacare.

People who qualify can get their prescriptions free of charge or at a reduced cost. If you are eligible, you will automatically enroll in the program when you apply for a health card or social services number.


Quebec is a beautiful province in Canada and is also home to some of the country’s most inclusive health care and services. Quebec’s healthcare system is a model for the world. It’s not perfect, but it is a system that values all its residents and provides them with affordable access to quality healthcare.

Quebec has a relatively robust system of subsidized medical care designed to ensure everyone can access the care they need.

We hope this guide has given you a deeper understanding of Quebec’s medical coverage and services if you’re considering moving there or are already a resident.

If you have any questions or need help finding what you’re looking for, please feel free to reach out! We would love to help you and answer you.