Quebec

 

Quebec’s Public Prescription Drug Insurance Plan is the government insurance plan that offers basic prescription drug coverage to all Quebecers who have no access to private group insurance.

The Public Prescription Drug Insurance Plan is administered by the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec. To register for the Public Prescription Drug Insurance Plan you must contact the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec office or visit during office hours. To register you must also have a Quebec Health Insurance Card with you.

Who is covered?

Quebec’s Public Prescription Drug Insurance Plan provides services for

  • persons age 65 and over
  • employment assistance (welfare) recipients and other holders of a claim slip (carnet de réclamation)
  • persons who do not have access to a private plan
  • children of persons covered by the public plan

So, what does it cost?

In general, persons covered by the Public Prescription Drug Insurance Plan must pay a premium (collected every year by Revenu Québec when income tax returns are filed). The annual premium varies from $0 to $640 per adult - depending on net family income. Not everyone has to pay a premium – people who don’t have to pay include:

  • children of insured persons
  • persons receiving employment assistance (welfare) and other holders of a claim slip (carnet de réclamation)
  • persons age 65 and over receiving the maximum Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) during the entire taxation year
  • Persons under age 65 who were covered by a private plan during the entire year
  • Persons age 65 and over who are covered by a private plan, and who have basic coverage (at least equal to public plan coverage)

For more information, please see The Public Plan: The Costs.

Private Plans vs the Public Prescription Drug Insurance Plan

“A private plan is a group insurance or employee benefit plan offering basic coverage for prescription drugs. Plans of this type are called private plans because, unlike the public plan, administered by the Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec, they are offered by private-sector companies. When doing their income tax return, taxpayers must indicate whether they were covered during the year by a private plan or by the public plan.

Persons who have access to a private plan must join that plan. Those who don't must pay the public plan premium, without being entitled to any of its benefits. Because they are supposed to be covered by a private plan, they are not allowed to register for the public plan. Similarly, persons who don't register for the public plan even though they are eligible for it must nevertheless pay the public plan premium. In other words, these persons pay a premium but have no coverage.”

As it is obvious from the above, it is very important to know which plan you are under – as you don’t want to be paying for something for no reason!

What drugs are covered?

The Public Prescription Drug Insurance Plan covers drugs listed on the drug formulary, which includes over 4,500 drugs.

What coverage is there for hepatitis C medications?

For specific information on coverage for hepatitis C medications, visit hepCinfo.ca's Treament Coverage in Your Region.

Considerations for travelers

Generally, the Public Prescription Drug Insurance Plan does not cover prescription drugs purchased outside of Quebec. If you are leaving Quebec temporarily, it is wise to take out travel insurance that covers prescription drugs. Please note that Public Prescription Drug Insurance Plan does cover prescription drugs purchased at certain out-of-province pharmacies near the Quebec border – but only if there is no pharmacy in Quebec within a 32-kilometre radius. Also, these pharmacies must have an agreement with the Régie beforehand.

Lastly, if you have a physician prescribe a drug for you outside of Quebec (for example, in Ontario), you can hand in your prescription and receive your drugs from a Quebec pharmacy. Note: At the date of this writing, there is some indication that the above may not be true in all cases. Please consult with your pharmacist beforehand.

If you are planning to move to Quebec, be aware that you will not be able to receive prescription drug coverage until you qualify as a resident of the province, which may take several months.