The BC Refugee Hub has curated information about the Interim Federal Health Program for Refugee Claimants in this online factsheet for claimants, advocates, friends and family of claimants and front-line workers.
What is the Interim Federal Health Program?
The Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) covers certain health-care benefits for specific groups of people until they become eligible for provincial or territorial health insurance, such as:
The IFHP doesn’t provide services. Instead, the services are provided by health professionals. A company called Medavie Blue Cross manages IFHP claims. They cover the cost of services from IFHP-registered health-care providers (doctors, dentists, hospitals, pharmacies) if you are eligible.
The IFHP does not cover the cost of health-care services or products that a person may claim (even in part) under a public or private health insurance plan. The IFHP does not coordinate benefits with other insurance plans/programs so co-payments aren’t possible.
Basic coverage (similar to health-care coverage from provincial or territorial health insurance plans)
Supplemental coverage (similar to the coverage given to social assistance recipients by provincial and territorial governments)
Prescription drug coverage (similar to the coverage provinces and territories give to social assistance recipients)
Coverage for the Immigration Medical Exam (IME)
The benefits covered by the IFHP have certain limits including maximum dollar amounts. For more details, please consult the IFHP benefit grids:
For the following groups of beneficiaries, the IFHP also covers the cost of one Immigration Medical Exam (IME):
Length of coverage
Definition of Refugee claimants: a person who makes a claim for refugee protection in Canada. This includes a refugee claimant:
Which documents prove eligibility for the Interim Federal Health Program?
Any of these documents will prove eligibility for the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP):
An officer from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada or the Canada Border Services Agency will provide the IFHP eligibility document.
When does the Interim Federal Health Program coverage start and when does it end?
The Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP) coverage starts on the date the person’s eligibility document is issued.
If you made a refugee claim from within Canada
You are eligible for coverage until:
Your IFHP coverage will automatically expire 90 days from the decision dateif:
During this time, you must contact the province or territory you live in to find out when you can apply for health coverage. In some provinces, you can apply as soon as you get a positive decision. In these cases, you should apply right away.
How does a person get health-care services or treatment through the Interim Federal Health Program?
Follow these steps:
I need help with my mental health. Does the Interim Federal Health Program cover it?
When refugee claimants receive the RCPD, they also have access to the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP), as the RCPD serves as health card. Note that all refugee claimants need to do a medical examination by an IRCC accredited medical provider within 30 days after the RPCD is issued.
Only Panel Physicians approved by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada can do the medical exam – Find a Panel Physician.