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Know the eligibility conditions for health insurance

I want to settle in Québec

To qualify for health insurance, you must meet certain conditions. When you settle in Québec, you must:

  • Be authorized to stay in Canada
  • Have your main residence in Québec and be present here consistently
  • Not be absent from Québec 183 days or more in your first 12 months of eligibility

In most cases, you may register for health insurance online. Family members accompanying you in Québec may also complete their own form online.

Coverage start date

Your health insurance coverage starts on the 1st day of the 3rd month following the date on which you settled in Québec. For example, if you settle in Québec on January 8, your coverage will start on April 1. This period also applies if you hold Canadian citizenship, but does not apply to children under age 18. To avoid delaying your eligibility, make sure to register within 15 days of your arrival in Québec.

In most cases, we do not reimburse the cost of health services received during the waiting period pending eligibility. We therefore strongly recommend that you take out private insurance within 5 days following your arrival in Québec. To find out more, visit the OmbudService for Life and Health Insurance website.

Agreements with other countries

Québec has concluded social security agreements with certain countries. If you are covered under the social security of one of these countries, you may be eligible for Québec health insurance from the very date of your arrival in Québec, without being subject to the waiting period pending eligibility.

Rules to follow to remain eligible

To remain eligible for health insurance, you must not be absent from Québec 183 days or more, consecutive or not, in a given calendar year (January 1 to December 31). If you expect to be away from Québec, for instance, to travel, please check whether you are required to report your absence.

Absence calculation tool

To check whether you will remain eligible for health insurance for the year during which you are away, use the Absence from Québec calculation tool.

Certain absences are not tallied:

  • Absences of 21 consecutive days or less
  • The departure and return dates


In certain situations, you may remain eligible despite a total annual absence of 183 days or more. Contact us to check whether you qualify for one of the exceptions to the presence rules.


At all times, we may require proof of your presence in Québec. If you do not comply with the “presence rules,” you will no longer be considered to have settled in Québec. You will lose your eligibility for the entire year during which you were absent. In addition, you will have to repay the cost of any covered health care received during the year.

Absence of 210 days from January 1 to December 31 of a given year
Destination Departure date (not tallied) Return date (not tallied) Number of days of absence Number of days taken into account for eligibility
Mexico January 1 January 15 13 0
Florida March 1 June 30 120 120
Spain September 1 December 1 90 90

According to this example, you would lose your eligibility for the full year, except if you qualified for an exception (e.g., 7-year provision).

You would have to assume the health care costs that you incurred in Québec and outside of Québec over that year.

Absence of 184 days spread over 2 years
Destination Departure date (not tallied) Return date (not tallied) Number of days of absence Number of days taken into account for eligibility
Ontario August 14, 2019 February 15, 2020 184

In 2019: 139

In 2020: 45

In this example, you would remain eligible for the Québec Health Insurance Plan for both years. Your absence does not exceed 182 days in one calendar year, i.e. January 1 to December 31.

Change of situation

If you receive new immigration documents, they may change your status or affect your eligibility for the Québec Health Insurance Plan. To find out more, contact us or refer to the webpage Register for health insurance.

Return to Québec after a prolonged absence

If you are returning to live in Québec after having settled abroad or in another Canadian province, you have to re-register for Québec health insurance even though you were registered in the past. However, you do not have to re-register if you are returning to Québec after a temporary absence during which you remained covered.