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Posts Tagged ‘RAMQ’

One of the things that Canada is known for is the poor quality of its healthcare. So lets get this into context first – Canada’s healthcare is ok, it’s just not as good as that of France, Belgium or the US. What it does have in its favour is that everyone can access it, unlike the US system where you need to pay.

In fact, Canada’s system is very similar to the UK’s NHS system and as you can imagine it has all of the same problems as the UK system. The one big difference is that the private industry here is strictly controlled so it’s difficult to queue jump without going to the US. If you’re not familiar with the NHS and Canada’s system, here it is in a nutshell:

Everyone has the same access to “high quality healthcare” free on point of delivery. The government is the principal healthcare provider. This means that you tend to get centralised, un-innovative, non-user friendly providers that…. well don’t provide much of a service.

In addition to this structural problem, one of the big challenges that Canada and Québec are facing is the USA. Next door doctors get paid oodles more cash than here in Canada, so if you’re a trained doctor why practice in Canada when you can get more money in the US? It’s worse out in the countryside – why live in the middle of nowhere and get paid less than you would in the states?

I don’t think that there are real plans to get this sorted out here in Canada any time soon and unfortunately the clock is ticking because the population is aging.

A bit of a story

I took my daughter to see the doctor this week with a minor problem. We went to a drop in clinic as we don’t yet have a family doctor. At 8:15am there was a queue outside. At 8:25am the doors were opened and we all trooped in. My daughter was about 5th on the list.

Around 9:45am the doctor arrived and started seeing the first patients. Yes, you read correctly, the doctor arrived over an hour after the clinic was opened. Each patient gets around 8-10 minutes with the doctor. The one we saw didn’t even want to correctly examine my daughter, we had to push him to do so.

Overall, not a good experience so we’ll be avoiding the Centre medical Mont-Royal on Papineau (near ave. Mont-Royal) in the future.

Cost of the consultation $125. I wish I earned so much for so little work! The insurance company were rather good though. You have to call them before seeing the doctor to open a case, and then call them back afterwards. I hadn’t done so by Saturday afternoon so they called me to see what had happened! I found that amazing.

Why did we have to pay? Well new residents aren’t covered by Québec’s health scheme until they’ve been here 3 months. This is to prevent health tourism. So we had insurance from Manulife for the three months at a cost of around $850 for the whole family with a $0 deductable.

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Today we visited the Régie de l’assurance maladie de Québec (RAMQ) to finish the registration process. The very first thing to do is to telephone as soon as you arrive in Québec. The numbers are given by the Québec Immigration authorities in the airport. The RAMQ will then take your details down and start the 3 month countdown.

Step two is to present your documents. Being in Montréal we went to their head office. It’s essential to go early, i.e. be there just before opening time at 8:30am. There will be a short queue, but that queue can get long during the day. We were there, waiting time included, for around about an hour – so it wasn’t too bad. During your ‘phone call you’ll get a list of documents to bring – these are also available on the website of the RAMQ.

It’s pretty well organised, you’re given a ticket on arrival for a certain set of counters. You wait your turn, and then an agent will take your documents, put them into the computer whilst you wait at the counter and then send you to have your photograph taken (cost $8). That’s it – easy as pie.

 

Remember: be there just before 8:30am

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