Do I need private health care coverage when travelling outside Canada?
In relation to out-of-country health insurance coverage, the federal health insurance legislation, the Canada Health Act, requires provincial and territorial health insurance plans to provide portability of coverage for insured medically necessary hospital and physician services when temporarily outside one's home province or territory. The portability criterion of the Act does not entitle one to seek services in another country, but is more intended to entitle one to receive necessary services in relation to an emergency when the absence is temporary, such as on business or vacation. However, because of the high costs associated with health care in some foreign countries, reimbursement for emergency health care by a province or territory may not be made at the full amount. Therefore, it is recommended that when travelling outside Canada, individuals are encouraged to purchase private insurance to ensure adequate coverage. Individuals who seek treatment out-of-country without prior approval from their provincial or territorial health insurance plans may be required to bear the cost of the services received.