Out-of-Province Transportation Subsidy Program for Approved Out-of-Province Medical Referrals

What You Need to Know About Your Insured Health Benefits

Sometimes, a patient needs medical treatment or care that cannot be provided in Manitoba.  Manitoba is one of only a few provinces in Canada that offers assistance to help cover transportation costs related to receiving medical care outside of the province.

The Manitoba Out-of-Province Transportation Subsidy Program offers financial assistance to help reduce your costs.  It is not designed to cover 100% of your expenses.

Before you can be considered for help with your transportation costs, you must first receive prior approval from Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living for an out-of-province medical referral.  You may be eligible for insured medical care or treatment outside Manitoba only when:

  • an appropriate physician recommends that you require a necessary, specific insured medical service (care or treatment); and
  • that recommended treatment is not available in Manitoba.

For insured medical care or treatment outside Canada these criteria must be met, and it must be demonstrated that all Canadian resources have been exhausted. 

Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living provides health care benefits on behalf of Manitoba residents in accordance with the Regulations under The Health Services Insurance Act. Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living cannot insure any services that are experimental or provided as part of a clinical trial or an applied research study.

For more information, see Out-of-Province Medical Referrals.

What are the first steps?

After you have been approved for out-of-province medical treatment, contact your (Manitoba) physician to find out the date and details of your out-of-province appointment.

Do I make my own travel arrangements?

Yes.  If you choose to fly, book an economy class or seat sale ticket at least 14 days ahead of your appointment, if possible, to take advantage of lower airfares for advance bookings.  Keep your original cancelled airline ticket.  If you have purchased an electronic ticket over the Internet, ask for an electronic confirmation (e-ticket) showing a breakdown of costs, including the flight cost, taxes and fees.  Print this confirmation and keep it.

If you choose another way to travel, be sure to keep your original receipt(s) for your transportation costs.

Should I buy an open airline ticket?

No.  Open tickets are usually more expensive than tickets with specific leave and return dates.  Purchase a lower-cost ticket that allows you to change your flight date for a fee.  Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living will reimburse the “change fee” if you have to reschedule your flight because of an appointment change or other medical reason.

What about cancellation insurance?

Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living does not reimburse the cost of cancellation insurance.  If the date of your appointment changes, you will be reimbursed the amount of the “change fee” to reschedule your flight.

What amount is covered?

Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living will generally cover the lowest economy airfare (not executive or first-class); train fare or bus fare to transport a patient for approved out-of-province care.

Only out-of-pocket costs will be reimbursed.  For example, if the cost of your flight is paid for or reduced through a discount program (e.g., Air Miles), you will be reimbursed only for the actual amount you paid for your ticket.

The timeline for submission of transportation subsidy reimbursement is six (6) months from the payment date.  Claims received/submitted after this timeframe will not be considered for reimbursement.

Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living is unable to reimburse the federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) portion of airline tickets.  However, patients can complete a “GST Rebate” application form and forward it with the original ticket(s) to the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency for consideration.  If you have any questions about this, please contact the GST Winnipeg Office at 1-800-959-5525.

Do I pay the transportation costs myself?

Yes.  Pay the cost up-front for your airfare.  Then apply to Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living for reimbursement when you return.  Transportation claims for approved out-of-province medical care are always given priority for processing and reimbursement.

What about my meals and hotel costs?

The Manitoba Out-of-Province Transportation Subsidy Program does not cover meals, accommodations, car rental, taxi fares, parking fees or other expenses associated with out-of-town travel.

How do I get my money back?

We will provide a claim form with your approval letter.  Send us the completed form and your original cancelled airline, train or bus ticket or e-ticket (i.e., electronic Internet ticket) and boarding pass when you return.  If you had to pay a “change fee” to reschedule your flight, include the original receipt from the airline.  Be sure to include your six-digit Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living registration number and your full address on the claim form.

Mail your claim for reimbursement to:

Out-of-Province Claims
Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living
300 Carlton Street
Winnipeg MB  R3B 3M9

Can I drive instead?

Yes, but you will be reimbursed an amount equal to the cost of a return economy airfare from Winnipeg to your destination, regardless of how much you spent to drive.

What if I need an escort?

Transportation costs for an escort to travel with you will be covered only if your doctor confirms in writing that an escort is medically required for your well-being.  If there is no medical evidence that an escort is needed, Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living will not cover this cost.

If the patient is a child 18 years of age or younger, the transportation cost for an escort is covered.  Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living will reimburse return travel costs for one parent (or other caregiver over 18 years of age) to travel with a child who has been approved for medical care outside of Manitoba.

What if I need to make more than one trip?

If more than one return trip is necessary to treat your medical condition, your (Manitoba) physician must send a letter of referral to Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living for each trip.

What else do I need to know?

The Manitoba Out-of-Province Transportation Subsidy Program does not cover transportation by ambulance.

In emergency cases, air ambulance transportation may be required based on information supplied by your physician. If you require such transportation, you will not be billed for the cost of the air ambulance trip. You may, however, need to arrange your own travel to get back to your home community when you are ready to return.

The program will not pay your travel costs if another program or benefit plan will cover this expense on your behalf.

Benefits for care payable by Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living are limited by regulation. Manitobans are strongly advised to have private medical insurance when traveling outside the province. 

For more information:

Telephone: 204-786-7303 in Winnipeg
Toll free: 1-800-392-1207 extension 7303
TTY/TDD Relay Service outside Winnipeg: call 711 or 1-800-855-0511