Effective April 1, Albertans travelling in another country will no longer be covered for elective, non-urgent health services and routine lab tests.

Making this change brings Alberta in line with most other Canadian provinces. Only Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador provide out-of-country coverage for elective, non-urgent health services.

There will be no change to coverage for emergency health services. Unlike the recent change in Ontario, Albertans will continue to be partially reimbursed for insured emergency health services needed when travelling outside Canada.

For years, Albertans have been strongly encouraged to obtain travel medical insurance when travelling outside the province to assist with health-care costs. Current coverage is quite limited and covers only a small portion of the high cost of medical care outside of Canada.

This change is expected to save Alberta about $1 million annually. The savings will be reinvested into strengthening the province’s health system.

Alberta’s independent Out-of-Country Health Services Committee will continue accepting applications for funding of insured, medically necessary services that aren’t available in Canada.