All persons established in Québec are covered by the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ). If you have a health insurance card, you may benefit free of charge from the medical care covered by the RAMQ. To know more about the services covered in Québec, please consult the RAMQ website.
Uninsured Services and Accessory Fees
Certain services are not insured by the RAMQ. These may be services not covered or accessory to a service covered and may be billed by the physician. They could include, for example, photocopying costs, costs related to purchasing an intra-uterine device or certain vaccines administered in the physician’s office.
On this subject, it should be mentioned that since June 2007, the Health Insurance Act stipulates that physicians must post in public view the fees for services, supplies and accessory services that can be claimed from an insured person, as well as the fee for uninsured medical services or services considered to be uninsured when they work in private practice or in a specialized medical centre. Physicians must also issue a detailed bill indicating the amount claimed for each of these services.
For services not covered or provided by a non-participating physician, the fees billed may vary considerably, as they may with a lawyer, an architect or other professional working under the rules of free competition. Physicians may, within certain limitations, bill patients using their own fee schedule. In this area, be it esthetic surgery, orthopedics, ophthalmology or another activity sector, it is up to the patient to make his or her own evaluation and to be vigilant, as when purchasing all other goods or services, professional or otherwise.
If a patient wishes to contest the fees billed by his or her physician, he or she may seek information and request a conciliation of accounts from the Inquiries Division of the Collège. This may involve, for example, fees for uninsured services, accessory fees or care provided by non-participating physicians.
In very particular situations where a patient has paid amounts of money or other securities to a physician, such as retainers, and has seen these sums of money used by the physician for purposes other than those for which they had been delivered to him in the practice of his profession, he or she may resort to the procedure to claim on the indemnity fund of Collège des médecins du Québec.