Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec

The Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ, often pronounced "ram-q" by French and English speakers alike) is the government health insurance board in the province of Quebec, Canada. The no-longer official English name is Quebec Health Insurance Board.[1]

Under the system, most residents of Quebec have basic health coverage. There are a few exceptions, such as college or university students from other provinces who are covered by their home province plans.

The Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec was established in 1969 for the purpose of setting up the public Health Insurance Plan. Ever since, the Régie has contributed to the development and smooth operation of Québec's healthcare system.[2]

Under Canadian federal law, all citizens and permanent residents are entitled to free basic health care, wherein each province administers their own system. Unlike most other provincial health plans, the Quebec health plan covers prescription medicines for many people. The annual cost varies depending upon each person's situation. People who are eligible for private prescription coverage are required to enroll in the private plan and are not eligible for the RAMQ prescription plan.[3]

The only medical services that are not covered by la Régie are those considered not medically necessary, such as services requested on the basis of cosmetic reasons. A majority of physicians in Québec participate in the plan, implying that they are remunerated directly by the Board for the services they provide.[4]

There are 7.4 million holders of this card issued by RAMQ. The card was first implemented by Quebec's Health Minister Claude Castonguay in 1970, considered one of the key persons in the establishment of public medical insurance and healthcare in Canada.

The Board issues a Health Insurance Card to persons eligible for the Québec Health Insurance Plan. Because the Health Insurance Card gives access to insured healthcare services, it is important for insured persons to carry their card with them at all times.

Information appearing on a health insurance card

  1. The bar code, found on the cards issued as of 11 January 2010.
  2. The health insurance number (HIN), unique to each person, consisting of:
    • the first three letters of the last name;
    • the first letter of the first name;
    • the last two digits of the year of birth;
    • the month of birth (to which 50 is added to indicate female);
    • the day of birth;
    • a two digit administrative code used by the Régie.
  3. The person's identity:
    • first name (if the number of characters in the first name exceeds the space available, only the initial will appear on the card);
    • last name at birth;
    • husband's last name, if requested by a woman married before 2 April 1981 or by a woman married outside Quebec who exercises her civil rights under that name;
    • the number of cards issued to the person since 1984.
  4. The person's birthdate and sex.
  5. The year and month of expiry.
  6. The person's photograph and signature, both of which are digitized and incorporated into the card. Cards issued to persons not required to provide a photo and a signature, such as children under age 14, have no photo or signature spaces, while cards issued to persons exempt from providing their photo, their signature or both, are marked exempté in the appropriate space(s).[5]


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