American ExpressAmerican ExpressAmerican ExpressAmerican ExpressAmerican Express

Understanding your Out of Province Health Coverage

As Canadians, we’re very fortunate to have publicly funded health care. But did you know you may not be covered for some medical services and emergencies when you travel out of province? It’s a good idea to review your provincial health plan coverage before you take a trip elsewhere in Canada, and consider supplemental travel insurance plans to fill in the gaps. We’ve outlined the basics of the provincial plans here but policies can change, especially in times like these. Visit your provincial health care plan’s web site for the most up-to-date and accurate information.

It’s a good idea to review your provincial health plan coverage before you take a trip elsewhere in Canada.

COVID-19-related advice for travel within Canada

Remember, non-essential travel is still discouraged. Before you leave home, check that the hospitals and physicians in the province or territory you are planning to visit will accept out-of-province patients. And ask if there are any restrictions or quarantine orders for travellers who arrive from another province.

If you live in BC, your provincial plan will help you pay for unexpected medical expenses incurred out-of-province if they are normally covered by MSP and they are deemed medically necessary. MSP will only cover the amount that the same service would have cost in BC.

If you need emergency care while in another province, show your valid BC CareCard or BC Services Card. Most times, there will be no cost to you. The exception is in Quebec, where you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket for emergency services and then make a claim to MSP when you return to BC.

Be advised that if you need an ambulance or if you need to fill or refill a prescription while outside BC, you are responsible for paying the full cost and will not be reimbursed by the province.

Visit the MSP site for more details.

In most cases, if you’re a resident of Alberta who receives insured services and shows a valid Alberta health card to an out-of-province hospital or physician, your costs are covered. That’s because Alberta has reciprocal agreements with all provinces and territories except Quebec. In Quebec, you’ll need to pay for services and then submit a receipt to AHCIP for reimbursement.

Here’s another important thing to remember about AHCIP: If they don’t cover a service in Alberta, they won’t cover it outside of Alberta, so check the list of non-covered expenses before you go.

Visit the AHCIP site for more details.

Thanks to reciprocal billing arrangements, residents of Saskatchewan who travel outside the province will not need to pay for most medically-necessary services out-of-pocket. If the services are provided by a publically-funded physician or hospital, all you need to do is show a valid Saskatchewan Health Services card. If you don’t have your health card, if you are receiving services not covered by the reciprocal agreement, or if you are receiving services in Quebec, the doctor or hospital may bill you directly. You can then submit a claim when you return to Saskatchewan. You will be reimbursed for insured services at Saskatchewan rates.

If you pay for a prescription drug at an out-of-province pharmacy, you can submit the receipt for reimbursement. Drugs normally covered in Saskatchewan will be reimbursed at Saskatchewan prices, according to provincial policies.

Visit the Saskatechwan Health Servces site for more details.

In the majority of cases, Manitobans visiting another Canadian province or territory (except Quebec), who need hospital or medical care, can simply show their Manitoba Health card and the bill for their expenses will be sent directly to MHSAL for processing. Note that some services are not covered, and the provice encourages you to look into additional health insurance before travelling.

Visit the MHSAL site for more details.

If you’re from Ontario, medically necessary services and treatments that you receive in another Canadian province or territory will be covered by OHIP. But you will need to show your valid Ontario health card to avoid paying for these services directly. Covered services include a visit to a walk-in clinic, and services performed in a public hospital, including emergency, diagnostic and lab tests.

Several services, including ambulances, prescription medication given outside a hospital, private hospital care, home care and assistive devices are not covered and will require private health insurance coverage.

Visit the OHIP site for more details.

If you’re from Quebec and travelling outside the province, RAMQ will cover services performed by doctors, dentists and optometrists at amounts not exceeding Quebec rates. If you’re out of province and need care, show your Quebec Health Insurance card. If the doctor accepts it, you will not need to pay out-of-pocket. If they don’t, you must pay them directly, so keep your itemized receipt to submit to RAMQ when you return. You are not required to pay for out-of-province hospital services such as nursing care, diagnostic procedures and accommodation in a ward. Just show your health card.

If you want to avoid unexpected medical expenses while travelling outside Quebec, consider private health insurance. If you don’t have it, you are responsible for the portion of the cost not covered by RAMQ.

Visit the RAMQ site for more details.

If you’re a New Brunswicker who needs treatment anywhere in Canada except Quebec, just present your valid Medicare card to the physician for the insured service. In Quebec, the physician may bill you directly, or they may choose to bill New Brunswick Medicare. When you return, you can submit a claim for your out-of-pocket expenses which will be reimbursed at the Quebec rate only. Insured hospital services outside New Brunswick are covered at the standard rate.

Visit the Medicare site for more details.

As a resident of Newfoundland and Labradour, you are covered for insured medical services under the Medical Care Plan and the Hospital Insurance Plan. But when you travel outside the province, you must keep in mind that MCP only covers insured services and does not cover the cost of all services, including some hospital charges, treatment received in a clinic or ambulance services. In addition, many services may not be covered at the full rate charged and you will be responsible for paying the difference. MCP recommends private health insurance for trips outside the province, even if just for one day.

Visit the MCP site for more details.

When you travel outside of Nova Scotia but within Canada, you can show your valid Health Card to the physician or hospital to receive medically necessary insured services. Your expenses will be paid by the host province and reimbured by MSI, meaning you won’t need to pay out-of-pocket. If you are required to pay fees to the doctor or hospital directly, simply keep your itemized receipt and make a claim to MSI when you return.

Visit the MSI site for more details.

Island residents with a valid PEI health card who are visiting the rest of Canada are only covered for medical care that results from an emergency or sudden illness. The period of coverage depends on how long you will be away from PEI and to avoid delays in payment, you should notify Health PEI prior to taking any trips longer than one month. The cost of non-emergency care provided outside the province will only be covered if you receive prior approval from Health PEI.

Visit the Health PEI site for more details.

If you live in the Yukon and travel elsewhere in Canada, all insured physician and hospital services are covered through the Interprovincial Billing agreement, meaning you will not need to pay for medically necessary services if you show a valid Yukon Health Care Insurance card.

When travelling to other parts of Canada, the Yukon government recommends that you purchase extra insurance coverage to cover additional non-insured services such as hospital transfers, air ambulance charges, escort charges and the cost of return transportation to the Yukon.

Visit the YHCIP site for more details. 

While you’re visiting other Canadian territories or provinces, you’ll be covered for the cost of medically necessary services provided by a hospital or doctor in Canada. It’s recommended you get travel insurance, as things like ground ambulance and medevacs are not covered outside of NWT.

Visit the NWT Health Care Plan site for more details.

For most Nunavut residents, neither the Nunavut Health Care Plan nor the Nunavut Medical Travel policy cover land or air ambulance costs outside of the territory. If you are travelling within Canada, you should consider purchasing third party health insurance.

Visit the Nunavut Health Care Plan site for more details.

We’re here for you! Travel throughout Canada with extra comfort. AMEX® Travel Insurance1 has single trip and multi-trip annual plans to supplement your existing provincial coverage.
Back to Top

1. AMEX® Travel Insurance is optional group travel insurance underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada. You may contact the insurer at 1-888-877-1710 in Canada and the U.S. or visit www.rsagroup.ca. In this outline, we have given a brief description of just some of the benefits available under AMEX® Travel Insurance. All insurance coverage is subject to the terms and conditions of the Group Policy issued to Amex Bank of Canada and the applicable limitations and exclusions described in the Certificate of Insurance issued upon enrollment. Please read the Certificate of Insurance carefully.

AMEX® Travel Insurance is underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada. You may contact the insurer at 1-888-877-1710 in Canada and the U.S. or visit www.rsagroup.ca. Amex Bank of Canada identifies insurance providers and products that may be of interest to some of its customers. In this role we do not act as an agent or fiduciary for you, and we may act on behalf of the insurance provider, as permitted by law. We want you to be aware that we receive compensation from insurance providers and our compensation may vary by provider and product. We do not require you to purchase any insurance product, and you may choose to cover your insurance needs from other sources on terms they may make available to you.