Health coverage outside of Alberta – Travel

AHCIP coverage

The Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan only covers insured physician and hospital services in Alberta and elsewhere in Canada. For medical treatment outside Canada, there are two sources of funding: AHCIP, and the Out-of-Country Health Services Committee.

Your Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) doesn’t cover all medical costs when you travel outside the province, even within Canada. For example, it doesn’t cover treatment in a clinic, prescription drugs, ambulance services, physical therapy, and more.

Whether you go to Radium or Regina for the weekend, to Mexico for fun, or travel out of province on business, you need to be sure you have the medical coverage you need when you leave Alberta. You might have to pay out of pocket for services you receive in another province or country, even if AHCIP covers those services in Alberta.

  • Costs for medical care outside Alberta can be much higher than costs for the same care in the province. If you don’t have additional health benefit coverage, it’s recommended you buy travel medical insurance before you leave.

When buying travel medical insurance, read your policy carefully so that you know what it covers and what it doesn’t cover. For example, most policies don’t cover current health conditions. Use the checklist below to help you plan for travel outside Alberta.

Health care coverage travel checklist

  • Know what the AHCIP covers outside Canada for you and your family.
  • Know what the AHCIP doesn’t cover and what the AHCIP does cover.
  • Understand you may not have Alberta health coverage if you are absent from the province for too long a period. Call Alberta Health if you leave the province regularly each year for long vacations (for example, snowbirds).
  • Do you have existing medical insurance like credit card coverage or work or private supplementary health benefit or insurance plans?
  • Buy travel medical insurance. You can check with your current insurance provider, travel agent or bank for options.
  • List your prescriptions in the health section of your travel medical insurance form.
  • Pack your Alberta health care card, travel insurance documents, and the emergency contact number for your travel medical insurance.

Absences from Alberta

Temporary absence or travelling

Albertans may be absent from the province of Alberta for various reasons and durations, and continue to be covered under the AHCIP. A person is considered “temporarily absent from Alberta” if the person:

  1. Stays in another province or territory for a period that will not exceed 12 consecutive months, or
  2. Stays outside Canada for a period that will not exceed 6 consecutive months, and the person intends to return to and maintain permanent residence in Alberta on the conclusion of the stay outside Alberta

If you are physically present in Alberta for at least 183 days in a 12 month period, you remain eligible for continued AHCIP coverage. If you are away longer, contact us.

Extended absence from Alberta

If you leave Alberta for another part of Canada and intend to return within 12 months, or leave for another country and intend to return within 6 months, you must maintain your AHCIP coverage. If you are leaving for a longer period and intend to return to Alberta, you may be considered for one of the following extensions of coverage:

  • 4 years (48 months) for absence due to work, business or missionary service;
  • 2 years (24 months) for travel, personal visits or educational leave (sabbatical); or
  • the time period you are a full-time student at an accredited educational institute.

If you are physically present in Alberta for at least 183 days in a 12 month period, you remain eligible for continued AHCIP coverage. If you are away longer, contact us.

Recurring absence from Alberta

You may remain eligible for AHCIP coverage if, on a recurring basis, you are absent from Alberta for up to 212 days in a 12-month period for the purpose of vacation (for example, snowbirds).

Alberta Health covers only some (limited) physician and hospital expenses outside Alberta. It is strongly recommended that Alberta residents carry private supplementary insurance when travelling outside of Alberta to cover unforeseen emergency care and transportation, as these costs may be significant.