Adequate medical coverage (which includes in-hospital and out-patient services) is a condition for postdoctoral registration at McGill, and proof of such insurance is one of the materials required to register as a postdoctoral fellow and as a postdoctoral research trainee.
Ensuring adequate coverage
Quebec Medicare is a government-sponsored health care plan provided to all those who hold a valid Quebec Medicare card. Those who do not currently hold a valid card, such as postdocs coming to Quebec from another province or country, will need to find out if they qualify, and if so, how to apply.
While Quebec Medicare covers physicians’ charges and hospitalization costs, it doesn't extend to many other items, like drug prescription costs. Extended health coverage is mandatory for all of those covered by Quebec Medicare. All McGill postdoctoral candidates (excluding unionized postdoctoral researchers and research trainees) are automatically signed up for Extended Health and Dental Insurance through the Post-Graduate Students’ Society (PGSS). Postdoctoral research trainees are not eligible for PGSS membership and will need to secure extended health coverage from a private provider. Unionized postdoctoral researchers can access health and dental coverage information at Employee Benefits for Postdoctoral Researchers.
Non-Canadian residents and Canadian residents returning to Quebec after 183 days out of Canada
Non-Canadian residents and Canadian residents returning to Quebec after 183 days out of the country will be required to apply for a Medicare card upon arrival in Quebec. They will be subject to a 3-month waiting period for Medicare benefits from the time their application is filed with the Medicare office. Only postdocs who hold a valid work permit for a period of at least 6 months qualify for Medicare benefits. Those whose valid work permits are for less than 6 months will need to obtain temporary medical coverage for the entirety of their time at McGill.
As a result of reciprocal agreements signed between the Government of Quebec and Denmark, Finland, France, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal and Sweden, postdoctoral fellows and postdoctoral research trainees from these countries will not/may not be subject to the three-month waiting period. These individuals will be asked to provide proof of health insurance coverage in their home country at the time of filing their application with the Quebec Medicare office.
Postdoctorals coming to Quebec from another Canadian province
Postdoctoral fellows and research trainees coming to Quebec from another Canadian province (inter-provincial postdoctorals) should consult the health plan website of their home province prior to coming to Montreal. Periods of coverage vary by province, and often depend on the intended length of stay in Quebec. Postdoctorals must confirm that they are covered at all times while attending McGill. If your home province's health plan does not cover your entire stay in Quebec, you will need to apply for Quebec Medicare. Depending on how long you have been in Quebec, a 3-month waiting period may apply. Should your home province's health plan not cover you during this waiting period, you will need to obtain temporary medical coverage until Medicare takes effect.
Provincial and territorial health plan websites
Temporary medical coverage
Postdoctorals who are not residents of Quebec but who otherwise qualify for Quebec Medicare are in the "bridge period". Insurance for the “bridge period” is the responsibility of the new arrival. Therefore, for postdocs who do not have such coverage (including international postdoctorals on work permits and Canadian residents no longer covered under another provincial health care program) the first three months of medical insurance must be provided from another source.
This temporary emergency medical coverage can be purchased from a private insurer, such as RSA (formerly ETFS). If you would like to use RSA as your insurer, apply on-line via their website using the English RSA application form or the French RSA application form. The rate schedule for single and family coverage can be found by clicking on the View rate schedule button in the form. The payment mode is provided at the bottom of the form.
Mandatory Extended Health and Dental Insurance
All registered postdoctoral candidates (excluding unionized postdoctoral researchers) are mandatory members of the Post-Graduate Students’ Society (PGSS). Postdoctoral research trainees are not eligible for PGSS membership, and must secure extended health coverage from a private provider. The Extended Health and Dental Insurance available through PGSS helps to pay for services not covered by the provincial Medicare health plan. Registered postdocs (excluding unionized postdoctoral researchers) will be automatically billed for plan fees (if registration occurs before September 30th for the upcoming academic year) and for PGSS society fees for Fall and Winter semesters.
CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC (and other funding agencies) may cover the cost of health and dental insurance and, in this event, budgets for new grant proposals may/should include them when appropriate. The mandatory Extended Health and Dental Insurance may be paid from the postdoc's supervisor’s federal tri-council grants (single coverage) when possible.
The Change-of-Coverage Period is the period at the beginning of the semester when you can opt out, self-enroll or enrol your spouse and/or dependents in the PGSS Health & Dental Plan. For more information, please refer to the Change-of-Coverage section of the Student Care website.
Prescription Drug Coverage
Please refer to guidelines set by the Quebec Medicare Program (RAMQ) with regards to prescription drug coverage. PGSS offers a summary of the guidelines, and more information is available on the Régie de l'assurance maladie (RAMQ) site.