Everyone who is permanently settled in Québec must have prescription drug insurance coverage at all times. Two types of insurance plans provide this coverage:
- the public plan, that is, the one administered by the Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec
- private plans (group insurance or employee benefit plans)
If you are eligible for a private plan, you must join that plan and provide coverage under it for your spouse and children. Only those persons who are not eligible for a private plan may register for the Public Prescription Drug Insurance Plan.
Persons residing in Québec temporarily are usually not eligible for prescription drug insurance. However, they can take out personal insurance.
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, they are offered by private-sector companies.
Private plans are usually available through employment, in the form of group insurance, which an employer may offer to its employees as a fringe benefit. In addition, many professional orders and associations, as well as unions, make such plans available to their members.
Private plans are sometimes called healthcare plans or health insurance plans. Most private plans offer prescription drug coverage along with other services, such as paramedical services or consultations with certain health professionals (chiropractors, physiotherapists, dentists, etc.), but some offer prescription drug coverage only.
The coverage provided may vary from one private plan to another, depending on the agreement entered into between the policyholder and the insurance company or plan administrator. However, in Québec, all private insurers offering prescription drug insurance must fulfill minimum conditions regarding the coverage they provide and the financial participation they require of the persons they insure.